A bike rally was organised here Saturday by Rays, a non-government organisation, to mark the World AIDS Day that was led by "Ek Tha Tiger" director Kabir Khan to spread awareness and express solidarity with the HIV-positive fraternity.
Kabir Khan with wife Mini Mathur. (Photo/Prodip Guha)
The rally, kicked off by Jaipur Mayor Jyoti Khandelwal, took off with Kabir Khan leading the bikers, who moved towards Albert Hall and then returned to Jawahar Circle where the rallyists were given appreciation certificates.
"This has been an occasion to spread awareness about this virus, support the ones who are already living with it and remember the ones we have lost," said Gurinder Virk, co-founder of Rays, which runs a shelter home for affected children.
The shelter home was started with two children in 2010 and today it has over 25. Besides providing for their lodging and food, Rays supplies medicines and also takes care of their education and extra-curricular activities.
"We have dance and music teachers visiting the children every week. We also get Art of Living classes conducted time to time," said Virk, adding the entire sum of Rs.150,000 per month needed to run the home is contributed by a band of 50 patrons.
What is unique about the shelter home is it is also managed by HIV positive women, who sort of become "mothers" to similarly-affected children -- a project where care-givers themselves are patients.
"Hiring an HIV-positive person was definitely a challenge due to the still prevailing social stigma and unawareness about the disease. But I had full faith in Anuradha's capabilities and her experience with the hospital came as a huge help," Virk, 57, told IANS.
The unique shelter house has five neatly decorated large rooms occupied by five children each, apart from a study room and a library. The five caregivers also live on the premises.
The children go to Rawat Public School, which fully supports Virk.
"We had been to a state government orphanage once and saw that the people there were reluctant to admit a kid who was HIV positive. That very day I and my friend decided that we will open one such place where we will have only HIV-positive children," said Virk, who given up his job effective Oct 1 to devote his full time to the home.