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  • Girl with HIV denied education in Kerala

    Kerala, the state with the highest literacy rate in the country, also enjoys the dubious distinction of denying education to children who are HIV positive. After the siblings, Bency and Benson, another child is being turned away from schools.

    Vidya says all she wants is to be able to study and play. But the 10-year-old has never been to school. Five years ago, after her parents died suddenly one after the other, she was tested at the local health centre and found to be HIV positive.

    "I have never been to school and would love to go to one. They will not let me mingle with others because I am sick," says Vidya.

    Her brother Vishnu and their grandmother, who the children live with, tested negative.

    "My examinations are over and I will now teach her. The local people will not agree to her schooling. No one is willing to play with her nor do the neighbours let her visit them," adds Vishnu.

    Vishnu, a student of class VI, is deeply loyal to Vidya and refuses to play with children who shun his sister. While Vidya has the right to learn the three R-s, it is the society that needs to learn a few lessons as well.

    Source: The NDTV

    13 March 2003, Thiruvananthapuram, India

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