How did the Mahesh Foundation start and a step towards HIV AIDS initiative?
Mahesh’s journey started in 2008. At that time, he used to study in college. He and his group of friends celebrated their birthdays in hospital with patients and the people in need. Once, on one of his friend’s birthdays, they went to the hospital like always. They especially celebrate in the children’s ward.
There Mahesh met a four-year-old boy named Rupesh while distributing fruits. He generally asks children their names, problems, and how many days were they hospitalised. Similarly, he asked Rupesh as well. His mother was sitting beside him, and she said his son is HIV positive; he has AIDS. Mahesh and his friends were shocked at how this problem could happen to such a young child.
They asked the doctor about how this child got infected with HIV AIDS, and the doctor said the AIDS could sometimes be transmitted from mother to child. Not only Rupesh, but there were also many more children admitted due to HIV AIDS in that Hospital. They could not sleep that night thinking about those children dealing with the disease. That time Mahesh and his friends were only 21 years old, and they made up their minds to do something for the children infected with HIV AIDS. From there Mahesh Foundation started and gave helping hands to HIV AIDS children.
The struggle period of six years!
In the beginning, Mahesh and his friends used to help a few children using their pocket money. They used to give them 200 to 300 rupees for travel and also provide food. Even they provide school kits and bags to children going to school. When Mahesh met the child Rupesh in 2008, he only had his mother with him, and in 2010 he lost his mother too and became an orphan. Mahesh, with his friends, tried for the admission of Rupesh in a government orphanage.
But, they got a negative answer that the child has AIDS so that he can spread HIV AIDS to other children living there. After fighting for consecutive days, Rupesh finally got admission, but he returned, running to them after some time. When Mahesh asked him the reason, he said that the warden of the orphanage told everyone at night that he had AIDS. Then Mahesh, with his friends, thought of making an orphanage of his own. They wanted a home for rent to keep orphan kids. Thus, they went to the landlord and said they needed it to make an HIV AIDS hostel; but they always got a No, as the child may spread it to the building. Really?.
Mahesh had no choice left, so he shifted him to his home. The sad part was that his relatives got scared of visiting his house due to getting HIV AIDS. Many HIV-positive children then came to him, and for six years, he kept them at his own home only. After a lot of struggle, one of his supporters gave a house on nominal rent. He faced struggles but never gave up!.
Foundation of Utkarsha School..
When the HIV AIDS positive children of their hostel went to the government school, the staff also thought that the children could spread AIDS to other students. His hostel children were not allowed to study with regular students. The parents of government school students forced the school not to allow HIV-positive children in school. But, it is nowhere written in our law of India that they cannot study together.
Thus, Mahesh thought of making his school. He asked for government help, and it took around six to seven years to get space for the school. But, at last, they had to make it on their own. Then, his mother, who always supported him, said he could buy some other house and donate their own home to complete school. Finally!. He opened his Utkarsha School to feed and educate the children in need.
Not only HIV AIDS children stay and study there, but also the government schools and slum area children come here and study free of cost. In the beginning, it was difficult to convince the parents of slum children, but, later they understood. Even students got inspired. One hundred twenty children from slum areas study in Utkarsha School, and 45 HIV AIDS positive stay in his hostel and study too. Utkarsha School also provides supplementary classes to nearby government school children after it closes at 4:00 PM. They teach them music, art, and craft, theatre-like activities. Almost 450 students come here daily for the classes. It is not only an HIV AIDS school but a school for all. They are all equal hence, promoting education in children as well.
His Team, His Strength!
Mahesh Foundation is a big team of professionals who work for the cause. They have separate teams for schools, hostels and campaigns. They give monthly reports of HIV AIDS to donors as well about food, study, and livelihood. They share progress reports with donors and keep with themselves too for doing better in the future.
Parents get their HIV-positive children from slums, hospitals, and even children from Uman and the child welfare ministry to him. But, it is tough to keep every child at their place also; they can only give space and living but not love and affection. Thus, he convinced around 2000 HIV AIDS children relatives to keep their children with them. Mahesh Foundation counsels the relatives and even gives financial help for the betterment of the child. Also, especially visit their house to keep a regular check on the child.
HIV AIDS Education and further plans!
The people who did not support them at first became donors now. Also, Mahesh has been providing HIV AIDS education to children from the very start. Also, he and his team give campaigns and sessions in schools and colleges on HIV AIDS. They offer training and counselling about self first-aid and how to keep themselves and others safe from the spread of HIV.
Also, he is opening a hostel for 100 girls that will be provided free of cost. Here HIV AIDS positive girls can come and stay. The hostel will be starting within two months from now. Mahesh is also making a charitable hospital free of cost for everyone with any disease, including HIV AIDS. His main motive is to provide education on AIDS and sex education to the youth of India. His message to the people is to step forward in doing good for others and social initiatives for society.