‘With love and care, everything is possible,’ says the man who nurtured 22 HIV positive kids as his own.
This is the story of Rajib Thomas – or Papa Reji, as he is fondly known, who transformed the lives of HIV-positive children who were abandoned by their parents. Along with his two biological children and his wife, Mini Reji, he has given all of these kids a second lease on life.
In an interview with the Humans of Bombay, Papa Reji, talks about his journey to fathering and taking care of 24 children in his home.
He said, “I saw a girl sleeping outside — weak to the point that you could see her bones. I found out that she was HIV positive and had lost both her parents. I asked what she would like to eat and she said noodles, but I couldn’t find them anywhere so I promised her I would return the next day.
She passed away that night and that incident kept haunting me, so I went inside the hospital and asked them to contact me if there were any such children in the future.”
From this point on Papa Reji was determined to make a difference in the lives of these children and so from 2009 onwards he started sheltering HIV positive kids who had nowhere to go. He said that initially it was ‘hard to make ends meet’ but with the constant support from his wife, he never lost hope and went on with his mission.
He told Humans of Bombay, “At first it was difficult to make ends meet — we could afford one mattress on which my 4 children slept and my wife and I would make do without. Eventually, people started donating — beds, grains and money. My family of 4 slowly expanded to 24 as more and more children with HIV were sent to me.”
One of his main objectives is to trump the social stigma attached to HIV positive patients, he says, “Being HIV positive doesn’t mean that they have to cut their life short…they can live as long as any normal person and that’s what I’m here for…to save them and give them a long life.”
And with his head held high Reji says, “I can proudly say that my family of 24 is overflowing with love! we’ve never differentiated between our children – we scold all of them, love all of them and give them the same gifts. My wife cooks for all 24 of our children, looks after their medication and takes them for their medical check ups. We’ve tried to give all of them a good education and make sure that they have a life worth living.”
People like Rajib Thomas stand testimony to the fact that will love and compassion anything is possible in this world.
Mr. India a.k.a Papa Reji | Father’s Day | Blush Originals
Youtube.com : 2016-06-15T04:30:00.000Z
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