"The only possessions the boys arrived with were a small toy car and a pair of sunglasses"
suraj & sandip
Five year old Suraj and 11 year old Sandip were orphaned when their parents died of AIDS-related illnesses. While Sandip is HIV+, fortunately for Suraj his mother was administered HIV medication during her pregnancy that reduces the risks of transmitting HIV. After his birth he was also given follow up HIV drugs and there was a huge relief when he finally tested negative.
After the death of their mother and father their transgender uncle took on responsibility for the boys care but he also had to work, which meant leaving his nephews alone at home. Realising this wasn’t good for them he approached the local Child Welfare Committee (CWC), who recommended he enrol the boys in a local shelter home. The boys arrived at Snehalaya in June 2018 with few personal belongings and a small bag of snacks. They both soon made friends and have become very popular. Their uncle clearly loves and misses them but as he lives close he has lots of opportunities to visit the boys on his weekly day off, bringing them their favourite foods and taking them on short rides around the grounds on his motorcycle.
Sandip is very sensible and still a little shy, playing the role model and keeping a brotherly eye on and guiding his younger sibling. He is very kind and has befriended one of our other boys who is deaf, quickly learning sign language to play and communicate with him. Suraj is a cheeky chap with bags of energy which means he never quite manages to sit still. He’s also a real character and recently played a policeman in one of the films our children wrote, directed, filmed and acted in. He took the role very seriously practising his marching and serious face so he was ready for action when the camera started rolling.
Both boys are doing really well in school and we have high hopes for them.