“You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it.”
Living my life as the above proverb myself ,Sabitra Gyawali (Gaire), was born in a remote area in Gulmi district as youngest daughter of Parashor Gaire and Kashikumari Gaire after four sisters and I was followed by two younger brothers. Being born in a family with sound financial status as a daughter of Indian Army I had an easy childhood living with my siblings and my mother who was a house wife by profession. I had opportunity to go to school which was a rare treat in that period of time. But as time would have it soon my elder sisters were married in an early age and I also couldn’t dodge the bullet. I was married at an early age when I had just given my SLC exam and result was also due.
Married to another teenage just like me, we weren’t matured enough to make all the big life decisions. I gave birth to my first child just after 10 months of marriage. With so much of responsibilities on the shoulder on such a small age was a burden to handle. However I didn’t give up. I started studying Intermediate level in Palpa with responsibility of infant on my shoulder. It was a tough period and soon my health went against me and I became sick. I was taken to Patan Hospital and was admitted and thorough check of my body was done. Back then as a HIV counselor sister Indira used to work there who suggested me for checking for HIV to which I reacted with anger and had dispute with her. But as per her suggestion I checked up and the result had me falling down the cliff. I was tested to be positive which was beyond my belief. This had me lose all the hopes in my life as I could not bear the mental pain. It also made me think about giving up my life knowing that the disease was incurable but with an infant in the lap no mother would have that courage. Slowly my inner strength took over and I was gathering some courage to relive my life. I convinced my husband to take the test and he was also reported to be positive. We had no knowledge about the disease and thinking keeping our son with us might leave him vulnerable we decide to leave him in the hands of grandparents in village.
The outbreak of infection made everyone suspect us and treat us as criminal. We tried to keep this information limited as we didn’t have the courage to fight against the society. HIV was on the verge of destroying our both physical and mental immunity. I returned to Kathmandu and started numbering my days by marking on the walls. I didn’t like talking to anyone and would make myself isolated from the society. I had heard about Teku Hospital and one day I went there and reached counseling room. I dictated all my problems and I was taken to Karuna Bhawan where other infected women were kept. Counseling sessions were run and I got to know about the infection. As time passed I realized people were still living their life in spite of the infection which served me as motivation and I decided to work for my life rather than regretting about it. I volunteered in various organizations and it added to my will to live. Then I applied for counselor post in FPAN Rupandehi and I was selected where I worked for five years helping people like me with the knowledge I had regarding both infection and life.
Soon things started to go well as my husband also started working in the same field. However I wanted to work in my native district and there were no organization working there. I took risk and decided to start a organization in Gulmi named ‘ Hamro Jeevan Plus ‘. People were unaware aboutboth infection and its causes and preventions. We conducted various awareness programs reaching out to people in remote areas and soon people started to express themselves. We coordinated with district health bodies and made treatment of people in our reach easy. Several people were benefited and seeing people express their sorrow and being by their side encouraging them to do something in life made me realize that this life was worth it. I am working as president of the organization and still working to reach out people’s sorrows and bear them as mine. Seeing smile on peoples face when they meet someone facing similar problem doing well in life gives me immense pleasure. I was elected as vice president of national association of people living with HIV/AIDS (NAP+N) and I am serving my tenure currently. I have also served remaining at various delegations of other national associations of women living with HIV /AIDS and various district organizations. However I am far from finished. I wish to continue this fight against the virus and dedicate my whole life for this purpose. I have a dream that one day the deserted life infected people will see oasis again and we can together stand against HIV/AIDS. I hope to inspire people going through the similar problems that we were given this life as we are strong enough to live it.
QUESTIONNAIRE FOR BASICS
- CURRENT ACHIEVEMENT WHAT YOU HAVE ACHIEVED TILL NOW IN LIFE?
Have established only one organization in Gulmi for PLHIV patients -which provides quality treatment, educational, nutritional, awareness, orientation and vocational training.
- BACKGROUND FROM WHERE YOU COME? FAMILY AND CHILDHOOD MEMORIES?
I am from chandrakot-7, Gulmi My childhood was bright and memorable as my father was an Indian army.
- DAILY ROUTEIN TIPS WHICH YOU DO WHICH MAKES YOU SUCCESSFUL?
Personally I take my medicine in time, do yoga’s and exercises and encourage others.
- MILESTONE IN LIFE AND WHERE ARE YOU TILL NOW IN YOUR VISIONED PATH?
Founder chairperson of Hamro jeevan Plus, NAPN-vice president , CCM member , Red Cross member of Gulmi, NFWLHA-member There’s more I need to for the society in future
- SUCCESS MANTRAS WHICH YOU FOLLOW DAILY?
There is no such things as mantras,positive thinking and quality treatment is what I choose
- HOW YOU FOUND YOUR PASSION IN LIFE?
Once I knew I had this condition and saw many others with this same problem I had an urge to get quality treatment for all and encourage people who are suffering from this condition for their better life. This became my passion as time went by
- HOW MANY PROJECTS YOU WERE INVOLVED AND HOW MANY PEOPLES WERE INVOLVED? WHAT WAS THE SUCCESS FACTORS?
Save the children, Family health international 360, World Bank funds. We have 7 Board members, Advisors-5, Staff-9, The whole team work with the help of our local government, societal support and media were the success factors
- WHEN HAVE YOU STARTED YOUR VENTURES? WHAT YOU HAVE PLAN FOR FUTURE?
I have started this since 2064; future plan is that every PL HIV patients should get to live independently as normal people.
- HOW YOUR WORK CONNECTS WITH BENEFIT OF SOCEITY AS A WHOLE?
Helping this group of people it has changed the mind set of many people and it has given strength and courage for those is suffering from this condition to move on with their life.
- HOW MANY PEOPLES WORK WITH YOU? WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
There are total of 21 members 7 board members, 5 advisors and 9 staffs and they here itself in the center and few are still in contact although they are not always present in the Centre
- WHAT YOU ARE DOING NOW WILL IT SUSTAIN IN NEAR FUTURE AND HOW LONG WHAT IS YOUR VISION?
We have been providing educational, nutritional and vocational training for this group of people along with quality treatment. My vision is that nobody should be discriminated in the society of whom they are and these people should get quality treatments like in abroad countries
- HOW YOU IMPROVED DAILY IN WHAT YOU DO AND WHAT ARE ITS MILESTONES?
Healthy food and exercises are the main components and positive thinking and mind set is what we need to improve daily in what we do.
- WHAT WERE THE MAJOR OBSTABLE YOU FACED IN YOUR LIFE, HOW MANY WERE THERE AND HOW YOU OVER COME IT?
Society view was the main obstacle which was dragging me back in life, it was very difficult to sustain life without society support, even family members and health professionals used to disguise us. With urge live a stronger life and positive mind set and thoughts for oneself and others helped me come above all these obstacles
- HOW YOU PROMOTE PROPLES WHO ARE DEPENDENT ON YOU AND WHAT YOU DO FOR SOCIAL CAUSE?
Counseling is the best way and refers them to the right centres and helps them get quality treatment as well as nutritional support and vocational training for the suffering group of people and counseling for the family and society as well.