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Big Change Requires Big Efforts

Whenever asked what I want to do in life, there’s no count of how many times I have said, “I want to do something for society,” and trailed off.

Choosing a social sector does need a lot of effort and patience. Social change is often very slow, but the feeling of creating that positive impact in the community for struggling, marginalized individuals, is worth every effort.

I am a fundraiser in Kolkata. It is not a very comfortable job. There are times we have to stand in scorching heat for hours with the placards or brochures, approaching passers-by in the pursuit of support for the cause.

Indeed, we are filled with challenges of our own. While approaching people I often get turned down, too many rejections can sometimes be demotivating but I am certain that my work is nudging me in a direction that can make the world a better place for all.

I often visit people living with HIV and try to understand the situation better. Recently I met a young boy, Amar (name changed for confidentiality) who’s battling HIV. I talked to him and learned about the enormous stigma and discrimination people living with the virus face. While sharing the story, Amar cried and hugged me. He also shared that most of his friends had abandoned him and now he feels alone and isolated. Doctors refused to treat his illness due to his HIV status.

I could feel the turmoil this young guy was going through. I gave him my number for any kind of support in the future and assured him that he is not alone in this fight.

In India, more than 23 lakh people are living with HIV and battling stigma and discrimination every day. Not only the body, but the mind too has to grapple with the social discrimination around the virus. Financial support enables them to lead healthier lives and hope to look ahead.

-Santosh

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