Two Non-Governmental Organisations-Aadhar and Saral-are helping HIV-infected women prepare and sell nutritious and tasty food items in Ahmedabad.
The purpose is to bring such women into mainstream society and remove the stigma attached to HIV, infected people.
The women had earlier opened a snack shop, which got a tremendous response from the locals. The only problem is that the infected women do not prepare the snacks, but were only involved in the packaging process.
This did not give them enough satisfaction and the revenue earned was also less. So, the women started preparing and selling food items themselves, supported by Saral and Aadhar.
They underwent training with the home science department of a local college wherein they learnt to make healthy and hygienic food items.
Meanwhile, the State Bank of India has donated an auto rickshaw, which has been converted into a mobile van for, women to reach out to common people with their snacks. "We took an auto campaign and they were going to every shop and selling the products and after receiving the response... we are benefiting. We are making the snacks ourselves and we are getting more orders," said Varsha, the president of Aadhar.
Hemalee Leuva, a member of Saral, said that both Saral and Aadhar had recently participated in an open -Asia competition, which was funded by World Bank, on how to remove the stigma attached to HIV infected people in an innovative way.
The project has brought a smile to many faces who are part of Aadhar.
India, has at least 2.5 million HIV infected people among its 1.1 billion-plus population.