This wonderful news comes to us from Chennai, India.
“Solomon Appa” is revered amongst 45 HIV+ve kids who have been ostracized by their families on account from suffering from this terminal disease. Solomon has his roots in Hyderabad but is now settled in Chennai. He got married in 1992 and for eight years after that he and his wife did not have any kids.
At that time, HIV was a very dreaded disease, far more than it is now. As the years passed, Solomon and his wife were blessed with biological children and the idea of adoption took a back seat. However, Solomon had a guilt that he was not taking care of needy children, as was his original intent. To this effect he remained active in the social work sphere of Chennai and was desperate to adopt a needy child.
Suddenly, in 2005, a trans woman got in touch with Solomon saying that she had a child up for adoption who was HIV positive. Solomon says, “I was perplexed. I already had biological children by then. At first, I thought, I could perhaps have the child admitted to an orphanage and finance his education. But when I got in touch with several organizations, they refused the minute they were informed about the child’s medical condition.”
In desperation, Solomon adopted the child, Arputha and since then, there has been no looking back. Today, Solomon is “Appa” to 45 HIV positive kids, through the auspices of Shelter Trust which is a registered nonprofit and a harbor for kids who have been abandoned and left to fend for themselves on the streets.
In the initial days, Solomon had to struggle while taking care of the child. He would have to lock the child indoors while he went to office. When he would return he would find the child in a corner almost passed out. Solomon understood that his approach was taking a toll on the child and he decided to take the child with him to office. At his office, Solomon was congratulated for his approach but in a few days the atmosphere turned bitter.
This led Solomon to quit his job and empathizing with the lonely kid, he decided to adopt another child who was HIV positive. Just as he was about to reach out to the trans woman who had helped with the first adoption, she called him. She said that she had another HIV positive child whose mother had died and who was up for adoption.
Close on the heel of this, a 70-year-old man from Andhra Pradesh came visiting Solomon. He had two HIV positive children who needed medical treatment which the old man found difficult to do. After some time spent in deliberation, Solomon decided to adopt these two kids too.
Over a period of years, Solomon has increased his sphere of influence to include 47 kids with HIV and is doing a great job with them. He juggles 3 jobs –at the NGO Right Now Foundation, at a theological college and the Center for Development and Women’s studies, in order to take care of the kids.
Today, the home is run by 11 HIV positive members along with an on-call doctor, counselor, accountant and psychologist. A huge part of this is thanks to Solomon’s salaries, savings and donations.