Our Founder's Story
Where there is a will there is a way!!
In 2010 a mother on a death bed in a government hospital, Belagavi, mentioned to Mahesh that her 4-year child was HIV Positive. Mahesh was surprised and pained to know that some children born to HIV positive parents can also be HIV positive by birth. After a few days, the mother died in the hospital. The Child's relatives and friends abandoned the child in the hospital. The child had nowhere to go. Immediately, Mahesh got in touch with the government care home to admit the child, but the admission to the child was refused. On the orders of the District Commissioner, the child was admitted into the government care home. Within a week of admission to the government care home, the child was sick and admitted to the government hospital in critical condition. The doctors had lost all hopes in the recovery of the child. Mahesh requested the hospital to permit him to take the sick child home for a few days. At home, within a week the child recovered. Mahesh did not have the permission to keep the child home hence after the child recovered, Mahesh wanted to readmit the child in the government care home. The child refused to go back and profusely requested Mahesh and his family to live with their family. The family agreed to keep the child in their care.
This was the birth of the Mahesh Foundation. The Foundation started Asha Kiran (a ray of hope) a home for HIV positive orphans at Mahesh's residence. Very soon the press covered Mahesh's story and made him a hero. This publicity led to an increase in strength from 1 to 55 children in a few months. Most of these children were abandoned by relatives and friends. All these children lived along with Mahesh's family. Children often came to Asha Kiran weak, sick and with multiple physical and mental health issues. These children were given timely medication, nutritious food along with love and affection. This made sick children recover from illness. After the children recovered, the children were admitted into local government schools. These medically challenged children were not accepted in the school, they faced severe discrimination, harassment from other children, teachers, and the community. These children were scared to go to school and was impacting their health and wellbeing. Mahesh had to regularly intervene and hold awareness sessions in the school and in the community to educate them about HIV and requested the community to accept the HIV children.
In a few months when the number of children increased, there was no adequate space in the family home. This made the Foundation to move the children from the family home to rented accommodation. Once again, these girls and boys continued to face discriminated in the neighborhood. The children were confined to the indoors of the care home. They could not come on the street to play. The neighbors constantly complained and physically threatened Mahesh to move the care home from their neighborhood.
Discrimination and non-acceptance of these children at school and the neighborhood was a growing concern for the Foundation. This was impacting on the children's physical, mental and general wellbeing of the children. The Foundation's several representations to the government to provide accommodation to these children went unanswered. The foundation did not have the necessary resources to buy land/buildings for the care home.
After several years of unsuccessful attempts, in 2015, Mahesh's family decided to donate their only family home to the Foundation. With the help of several generous corporate donors and individuals, a care home and a primary school were established in 2018. There are over 100 children housed and educated in this new facility. This facility is adequate for care home and primary school. The school also caters to underprivileged children from the slums around the town of Belagavi.
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