Deepak has been at Faith, Arms Around the Child’s care facility in Jaipur, India for over six years. Here is his story:
“I came to Faith in 2011. I had been very ill for a long time. I had bad skin rashes that wouldn’t go away. The doctors said they were because of my HIV. There were not any hospitals or clinics in my village in Kotputali, near Jaipur, and so I was just getting sicker and sicker and my skin was very painful and itchy. Sometimes I couldn’t stand the itching anymore so I would have to scratch it and my arms and legs would bleed and bleed.
Both my parents died of HIV/AIDS when I was very young. It was the worst time of my life but I was grateful that my grandfather came to take care of me. He had to work very hard in the fields to get enough money to buy food for us. I love my grandfather so much and it makes me very sad to be away from him. It makes him sad too but he said that he couldn’t take care of me as well as the people at Faith could and so I came here.
When I arrived the doctors that visit the centre every week gave me lots of medicine they called ‘anti retroviral’, which they said would help with my HIV. The medicine doesn’t make it go away – I will have HIV for my whole life. Sometimes that makes me feel low. But the medicine made me feel much better and my skin soon started to look good. I am allergic to dust though, so sometimes I still get bad rashes.
I missed my grandfather very much when I first got here. Sometimes at night I would cry and cry and I didn’t want to play with the other boys. But I really love playing cricket and football and so do the others, so soon I started playing in their matches. Now when new boys arrive and are sad like I was I try to make them feel better and get them to join in the games.
I also really like to go to school and to study. This year I passed my final exams with good grades and so now I am studying at Rajasthan University’s Commerce College and I like it very much. Coming to Faith was hard at first but now I am very glad I did. I have made lots of friends and my grandfather is so proud of me. I hope one day I get very rich in business and then I can make a big donation to help the children and staff here, and maybe even build another centre.”