- Goa Social
- HUMAN TOUCH
10 Sep 2017 05:53am IST
10 Sep 2017 05:53am IST
Nicole Remedios finds out that HUMAN TOUCH's main aim is to engage youth to address HIV, sexual and reproductive health and substance abuse in Goa
“The key to be happy is by making others around you happy!” said Peter Borges, a strong pillar of the ‘Human Touch’ NGO.
Human Touch a youth led organization, informs, inspires and engages youth in development, so that they get involved and take action to improve their social communities, bringing a change in the society.
Their main aim is to engage youth to address HIV, sexual and reproductive health and substance abuse in Goa.
In the space of HIV, the Human Touch organisation has been dealing with 287 children and adolescents living with HIV. The work includes psyche-social support, building leadership, creating enabling environment, addressing issues of sexuality, dating and relationships, stigma and discrimination, providing education and aftercare services for complete HIV positive orphans. Drugs have been a deal lately and The Human Touch has been working on primary awareness of the different substance abuse. Counselling and referral services are provided to those addicted. A campaign is going to be launched shortly in the state of Goa.
Borges believes in the Gospel where he learnt to love, serve and care for others than contradicting the downtrodden, drug abusers and HIV positive people.
Borges narrates a shocking case he witnessed, “My AIDS involvement stems from the gut level. I’m still haunted by the image of a young man who was lying on the road in front of the Philosophy institute in Nagpur where I was studying. Assuming him to be a beggar, I then discovered that he was being fed by the same person every day late in the evening. I took courage to find out, it was a shock when I got to know that that person was His brother and the person was on the last stage of AIDS. The family was not ready to keep him in their house. He died after three days and I was in deep thoughts.”
For several days he spent his time reading about HIV on the internet and realised that, it is a serious epidemic affecting young people. HIV has been claiming lives and indiscriminately killing old and young alike. Later on, it was a huge plunge for him into working towards HIV cases and no looking back.
This work further gave Peter the opportunity to understand and accept the marginalised groups, including those with different sexual orientations. “ I started with who been into sex work and befriended gays too.”
Borges still wonders about an absurd case he came across, a woman in a 30’s who was made prematurely old by the disease. Her body was wasted weighing only 18 kilograms and was covered entirely with sores. Her dignity had gone struggling to control her bowels. Her family was refusing to keep her home and would not even let her use the family toilet thinking that she might spread her disease. Borges and his colleague brought her to a care centre where she surprisingly gained 7 kilograms in just a week.
As the epidemic progressed faster than our scientific understanding, Peter continued to live with the frightening reality of more and more people. Peter wanted to go out of his way in helping these people.
Human Touch was founded in 2009 where Peter always aspired to engage with the youth when he was graduating in social work. And finally his dream turned reality and the Human touch organisation has been working successfully in helping people around. “There’s a strange disconnect between inspiring people and doing what everyone says is ‘amazing work”.
Human Touch often requires huge resources for sustaining the programmes. Treatment has yielded remarkable success in the treatment and changed the face of HIV epidemic as regards children, making it manageable chronic illness, with children surviving into adolescence, making it emerging public health challenge and burden. The organisation has introduced camps and other programmes to address their concerns of healthy sexuality, safer sex, transition to adulthood, disclosure, career, coping with potential stigma, challenges faced in daily living, access to care and support and adherence to treatment.
Peter says that AIDS cannot end unless the stigma associated with it ends. It keeps people from curing this sickness.
He also encourages volunteers to come forward in order to help people in different ways in this organisation. Teaching children to help others at a young age is really important to see a better future. This will create a generation who will act as transformative agents of social progress.
Peter concludes saying, “Happiness is found in helping others. I believe that helping others is the secret to living a life that is not only happier but also healthier”.