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Concern over rise of HIV-AIDS infected, affected children
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, MAR 8 (NPN):
Published on 9 Mar. 2011 1:30 AM IST
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According to a study conducted, in Africa, majority of the Christians infected with HIV and other high risk behaviors were once good Sunday school going students. Similarly, Prodigals’ Home director K. Ela on Tuesday said victims of drug abuse, prostitution and AIDS in Naga society today were once Sunday school going kids, gone astray. K. Ela raised few questions to a group of pastors and NGOs who attended the ‘sensitization programme on HIV infected and affected children and related issues’ as to what went wrong, whether it was family associated problems or that the society had failed to create congenial atmosphere for children to enjoy their childhood.
Ela called upon the pastors to ensure that Sunday school children do not end up in prostitution, use drugs or die out of AIDS in the long run. Highlighting on issues related to HIV and infected, affected and vulnerable children, the director revealed that some of those children infected with HIV are victims of rape, which has been a serious case and often not brought to light by the people. According to Prodigal’s Home, children who are most vulnerable are orphans, destitute, working children, street children, child labour and those child practicing high risk behavior.
As per Nagaland State AIDS Control Society (NSACS) data (April 2009 to March 2010), Dimapur is an ‘A Category’ district with HIV prevalence rate of 5.9%. Prodigals’ Home revealed that many parents are living with HIV and AIDS and many are practicing high risk behaviour thus posing children at risk. Appealing the pastors to raise awareness at all levels, Ela called on for advocacy and social mobilization by the Church to create a better environment for children infected with AIDS. She also urged Church members to ensure that every child in their locality goes to school according to the government’s right to education policy.
Assistant director Prodigal’s Home, Maong Jamir dwelt on ‘stigma and discrimination-a theological reflection’, while a member from a wing of Lotha Baptist Church, Eyilo Ministry shared the activities undertaken by the ministry. The programme was followed by discussion on possibilities of Church involvement.
The programme was aimed at sensitizing pastors of Baptist Churches affiliated to Dimapur Baptist Pastors’ Fellowship (DBPF) and attended by 29 members including members from NGO. It may be mentioned that there are 55 Baptist Churches affiliated to DBPF. The programme was organised by DBPF and Prodigals’ Home at Dimapur Ao Baptist Church, Kher Mahal, Dimapur.

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