Mothers to Children in Need #Being BASIC

Hospice center was started 6 to 7 years back as a home for HIV+ orphans at Seithogei in Kohima, Nagaland. Currently 3 girls and 1 boy are staying at the home. The home is run by NMA (Naga Mother’s Association), a very influential women body in Nagaland. Naga Mother’s Association was formed as a state level voluntary organization for Naga Women on 14th February 1984 with the motto of ‘Human Integrity’.

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*BASIC had the privilege of visiting the home recently and meeting with NMA’s president Abei-ü Meru. Here is a short transcript of the interview with her.

BASIC: Why did Naga Mothers Association (NMA) start the Hospice center for HIV+ orphans in Kohima?

Abei-ü Meru: Earlier the children’s parents were the clients of NMA when the center was run as HIV and AIDS Care Hospice (2001). And that’s how they started this.

BASIC: What do you think of the drug abuse problems in Nagaland? Are there any solutions or hope to address it?

Abei-ü Meru: Drug abuse in Nagaland has not decreased and it’s growing more even after many awareness programmes. It’s not only in urban but rural areas also and it’s happening more in rural areas where it’s very dangerous.

Solution is to create more awareness especially among the youths and the parents. In rural areas many parents don’t know how to handle the drug addicts, they get panic often and the situation gets worsened from there.

BASIC: What is NMA’s future plan for the orphanage and orphans especially HIV+ kids?

Abei-ü Meru: Future plan of NMA for the orphanage is to expand but due to lack of fund things are moving slow. We recently got call that 45 orphans were found in Noklak area of Tuensang district, Nagaland who are all HIV+. But due to lack of fund NMA cannot do much and accommodate them in the centre. In fact even NSACS are helpless because they are not getting much support from NACO.

BASIC: What is your message to youth caught in drug abuse problems.

Abei-ü Meru: Need to change the mindset of the youth. Often it is the drug addicts only that become drug peddlers in order to sustain their needs of using drugs. Many counseling centres is needed but the existing ones are getting closed down due to lack of funds. Even the drug addicts need to approach pro actively for their desires to quit the addiction and just not only wait for the people, family or friends or society to come and help them.

BASIC: What is your message to the general public?

Abei-ü Meru: They need to accept the reality whatever is happening around them. Since we do not accept that’s why we neglect all these social cause.

NOTE: The home is looked after by a local lady who has been known to NMA from long time back and she is assisted by another helper. The maintenance of the center is run by donations and individual contributions till date. The salary for the warden and the helper is also paid by few members of NMA through voluntary contribution. In recent past months many people approach them to keep their infected kids there but they decline because they don’t have enough funds. They have already approached government for assistance but till now got no favorable response.

The shelter home also has machinery to make products with recycle paper and earlier they use to make bags and envelopes and sell them to gather funds to run the home. But now they do not use it anymore because it has become outdated and the products made are not of good quality as compared to the ones which are produced now with modern hi tech machines.