Alamara Begam lived with her two children in Shyampur PS, Howrah, West Bengal. The sole earning member of the family was her husband, Azahar who used to work as a mason in Mumbai. Both her children studied in a local school in Howrah. Though the income was meagre they led a happy life.
It was when Azahar and Alamara were diagnosed HIV+ that their world came crashing down. Though broken from within, Alamara showed strength and stood by her husband and children. With consistent body ache he was admitted at the School of Tropical Medicine (STM) but was eventually discharged. He was in no state to work anymore or support his family. He was still managing the family expenses with the meagre savings he had and after few months, Azahar succumbed to the disease.
Alamara, lonely and helpless, had to go through a very hard time to meet the expenses of her family but was determined not to let her children discontinue their studies. Initial support was rendered to her by her relatives but they gradually drifted away. Alamara learned zari embroidery from her neighbours and started working from home. In 2014 she became a member of Howrah Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (HNP+).
In 2016, Alamara joined Improved Quality of Lives of Families with HIV/ AIDS (IQLFH) project supported by DeShaw India Pvt. Limited and PepsiCo through our employee giving programme Give As You Earn implemented by HNP+. This immensely supported her to continue her children’s education who also received education materials and coaching support from the project.
She toiled hard for a good life for her children and herself. Along with doing zari embroidery, she also runs a small poultry farm and plans on rearing goats in future. While talking to the field workers and representatives from West Bengal Voluntary Health Association (WBVHA), she expressed her heartfelt gratitude. She said, “I feel proud to be a part of the IQLFH project. For the first time in my life, I got a place where I can share my pain, benefits and achievements.”
Through our workplace giving programme Give As You Earn, DeSahw and PepsiCo employees supports our validated NGO partner HNP+