New Delhi: Man was born free and equal, but the status of the family, society and class, an individual is born into makes all the difference.

India is a land of festivals and the fervor and festivity with which the countrymen celebrate such social and religious events is a fancy of the people across the world.

In this context, there are many who are not that lucky and are devoid of all happiness. This because they were ill-fated either to have been forced to grow without the love and care of their parents, or came into this world carrying disease (AIDS) for no fault of theirs.

Therefore, festivals held no meaning for them.

The marginalized, destitute, orphans, HIV positive children are not fortunate enough to witness the joyous moment. They feel themselves alienated from their families and mainstream of the society.

However, as the festival of lights ‘Diwali’ draws near, some of the non-governmental organizations are trying to bring cheer into their lives by making special arrangements for the occasion.

NGOs like PRAYAS and Naz foundation (India) Trust will organize colourful programmes for them this Diwali.

Former Arunachal DGP and PRAYAS Director General Amod K Kanth said, “Since its inception in 1988, PRYAS has been celebrating Diwali in the colourful manner. This year too, we have arranged crackers, sweets, dresses and gifts for about 30000 children at 231 community centers of PRAYAS spreading in 8 states and UT Delhi.”

Kanth informed that the PRAYAS has been working on child protection and juvenile justice, education, child labour and human trafficking.

Similarly, Naz Foundation (India) Trust- which is home to HIV+ children - has also arranged several specific programmes for 23 HIV+ children living at its center at A-86, East of Kailash.

Commenting on how children celebrate the Diwali at the center, Project Manager, Naz foundation, Anuradha Mukherjee said, “Wehave decided to distribute sweets, crackers to them. Special dishes and new clothes have also been arranged for them.”

A team of 12 take care of the 23 HIV positive children in the age group of 4 to 17 years round the clock.

In shocking revelation, Mukherjee said, a couple from Bihar visited the center with their HIV+ kid and promised to return in six months.

However, it’s been ten years and the Center is still waiting for their return.

Amar Kumar Sharma