Nagpur: The twelfth five year plan may have special support for the HIV-positive women and children. Women living with HIV/AIDS may also get priority at government shelter homes. This is among the measures being proposed by women and child development (WCD) department of the government of India.
Vandana Jena, adviser to the WCD in planning commission shared this information after a formal launch of country's second Women Resource Centre (WRC) in city at India Peace Centre. The centre has been set up with the help of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
First WRC was set up at Ajmer. Jena said that every district may have one such shelter home. Women with no shelter like destitute women, Dalit women, and widows can seek shelter here through a national helpline to be created for the purpose. Priority will also be given to HIV-positive women in these homes. In fact, government is also contemplating support for 'women in conflict areas' like those affected by left extremists.
WRCs are aimed at linking all the different government welfare schemes to the women and children living with HIV/AIDS. The Positive Women Network (PWN), an NGO working for HIV-positive women in country in 13 states at present, is the force behind the centre. The funds for the centre come from UNDP. These women generally become widows at a very early age. Since they are afraid of disclosing their HIV status openly, they cannot avail the benefits of various social welfare projects and schemes.
WRC will work for bringing these schemes to the positive women by helping them with documentation and follow up procedures to get the benefits faster. Umesh Chawla from UNDP said that problems of women living with HIV/AIDS were compounding. WRC would act as a link between the social protection schemes of the government and affected women.
Akhila Sivadas from the Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) lauded the efforts of the pioneer of such women's cause, P Kousalya, president of PWN which has helped about 28,000 women so for in various ways. She said that Kousalya is the living testimony of the struggle such women undergo. "The dynamics of government working do not allow people to champion the cause of such women. But Kousalya has proved it otherwise with her dedication, sincerity and above all her daring to face the highest officials in planning commission and seek intervention for PWN members," she said. She also lauded Cyantha Shinde for taking over the responsibility as WRC coordinator for the city.
Dr Ravi Wankhede, director of Jeevan Jyoti Blood Bank, Dr Milind Bhrushandi, Dr Praveen Dahake and Smita Pawanikar, district women and child welfare officer, were also present.