Tabassum of Snehadeep, at Bejai-Kapikad in Mangaluru, who has been taking care of HIV/AIDS-afflicted children, will be felicitated with Mangaluru Press Club Award.
A committee, led by Professor Balakrishna Gatti, Vasanth Kumar Perla and Dr Nagaveni Manchi nominated Tabassum for the award for the year 2019. The award will be presented during Press Club Day celebrations at Urwa Radhakrishna Mandira on February 9.
Snehadeep, a centre for HIV children run by Tabassum, takes care of 26 children. No sooner Snehadeep opens the gate and enters the rented house, where the care centre is functioning, she is immediately surrounded by children who enthusiastically report to her on their day in the school or college.
Breaking the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS is a challenging task in the society and Tabassum has been constantly working towards it. “When my close friend died few years ago from AIDs, the family refused to touch the dead body. The incident motivated me to work for children suffering from HIV.
‘Friend’s death changed my destiny’
My friend’s death changed my destiny. I decided to give wings to my dream of serving society and started Snehadeep a centre exclusively for girl children, who are either orphans or have single parents suffering from deadly diseases in 2011. “The centre begun with six kids and now has 26 children,” she added.
Tabassum recollecting her childhood said she hailed from a poor family. “Though I passed SSLC with distinction, my family could not support my higher studies. I somehow managed to complete my PU. I got married when I was studying in first-year degree. My family supported my initiative but they were not able to lend any financial support to the centre.”
All the children are studying in schools and colleges. “At the centre, my first priority is the health of the children and then education. I want my kids to be educated, to ensure that they have a living in the future. Majority of the kids are aware of their condition and undergo treatment at antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Wenlock Hospital.
Apart from Tabassum, there are three other staff who work with these children at the care centre.
For Tabassum, spending time with these kids, listening to their success stories from schools gives her enormous peace of mind. Tabassum runs a shop for living and the income earned by her is used for running the Snehadeep. In addition, donors also extend their support, she added with gratitude.