Rajib Thomas (known affectionately as Papa Reji) and his wife Mini Reji became determined to help HIV-positive children after seeing a malnourished girl outside their local hospital in Mumbai ten years ago.
"I saw a girl sleeping outside – weak to the point that you could see her bones," recalls Papa Reji. “I found out that she was HIV positive and had lost both her parents."
He continues: “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.”
Since then, the couple has adopted 22 children who are HIV positive, sharing what they have to provide the kids with health care, education, and food.
“Being HIV positive doesn’t mean that they have to cut their life short,” says Reji.
“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 love and care, everything is possible.”