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Stories

Latest stories from IPPF

Spotlight

A selection of stories from across the Federation

Humanitarian response team, Fiji.
Story

In pictures: Humanitarian photographers share their experiences of storytelling in the field

IPPF’s localized approach to humanitarian emergencies is led by our Member Associations' response teams and whenever possible, we deploy local photographers.
Healthcare worker with combipack.
story

| 23 September 2020

In pictures: Innovating during COVID-19

Women around the world have faced multiple barriers to accessing safe abortion care during the COVID-19 pandemic including the de-prioritization of sexual and reproductive healthcare, overwhelmed health systems and restrictions on movement. The COVID-19 crisis has sparked innovation among IPPF Member Associations who responded swiftly by developing new approaches to reach women with safe abortion care including telemedicine and home-based provision of medical abortion. Strong evidence generated from this work supports the continuation and strengthening of these approaches beyond the end of the pandemic. Cameroon Cameroon National Planning Association for Family Welfare (CAMNAFAW) To ensure that quality abortion care can be provided to women during travel restrictions, CAMNAFAW’s service providers travel to partner clinics in underserved areas and to clients’ homes to provide medical and surgical abortion care. This model of taking safe abortion care closer to women will continue even with easing of travel restrictions, as this has been found to be an effective and acceptable approach to increasing access.Photo: IPPF/Xaume Olleros/Cameroon Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Guinea Association Guinéenne pour le Bien-Etre Familial (AGBEF) Building on lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Guinea, AGBEF quickly took measures to prevent infection in its clinics to continue providing sexual and reproductive healthcare, including surgical and medical abortion, in a safe environment. AGBEF donated protective materials to communities, including hand-washing stations, face masks and antibacterial gel, alongside messaging on infection prevention. This community visibility reassures clients they can safely attend AGBEF clinics for abortion and contraceptive care.Photo: AGBEF/Guinea Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email India Family Planning Association of India (FPA India) FPA India and partners advocated to have sexual and reproductive healthcare, including abortion, recognized as essential by the government, which meant FPA India could continue healthcare delivery during the national lockdown. To reduce in-person clinic visits, FPA India established teleconsultation and counselling for abortion care, and is continuing to provide in-clinic care for both medical and surgical abortion. Photo: IPPF/Alison Joyce/India Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Nepal Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN) FPAN and partners advocated for interim approval of home provision of medical abortion and telemedicine for abortion counselling during COVID-19. FPAN is now implementing these approaches, ensuring continued access to abortion care in Nepal, where many people live in remote locations with limited mobility, which has been further restricted by COVID-19 lockdowns. Photo: FPAN/Nepal Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Pakistan Rahnuma – Family Planning Association of Pakistan (Rahnuma-FPAP) Rahnuma-FPAP and partners successfully advocated for the government to class sexual and reproductive healthcare as ‘essential’, which enabled the team to continue providing post-abortion care during the pandemic. Rahnuma-FPAP expanded its telemedicine and home-based provision for menstrual regulation counselling and post-abortion care. These new approaches have ensured continued access to services for clients unable to reach clinics.Photo: Rahnuma-FPAP/Pakistan Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Palestine Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA) In response to the government-mandated closure of its clinics, PFPPA quickly established a toll-free call centre which provides consultations, counselling, referrals and follow-up, including consultation for abortion care through a harm reduction approach, ensuring that women are provided with accurate information. Due to its success, PFPPA is exploring options for continuing this healthcare delivery model beyond the pandemic, with the aim of keeping it free of charge for users.Photo: SAAF/Samar Hazboun/Palestine Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Sudan Sudan Family Planning Association (SFPA) Following a nation-wide shutdown in April, SFPA  established  a call centre to increase access to healthcare, including abortion and contraceptive counselling and referrals.  An unexpected outcome of the new call centre is that it has reached an increased number of young women who regularly call to discuss their reproductive health and rights. SFPA  is working  towards institutionalizing this model for continuation beyond the pandemic.Photo: SFPA/Sudan Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Togo Association Togolaise pour le Bien-Etre Familial (ATBEF) ATBEF adapted its mobile application ‘Infos Ado Jeunes’, adding a toll-free teleconsultation service for young clients to use to access abortion consultations and pre- and post-abortion counselling. This app has given young clients ongoing access to care when they face challenges travelling to clinics. It has also eased overall client flow in clinics at a time when social distancing is being implemented.Photo: ATBEF/Togo Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email

Healthcare worker with combipack.
story

| 19 May 2022

In pictures: Innovating during COVID-19

Women around the world have faced multiple barriers to accessing safe abortion care during the COVID-19 pandemic including the de-prioritization of sexual and reproductive healthcare, overwhelmed health systems and restrictions on movement. The COVID-19 crisis has sparked innovation among IPPF Member Associations who responded swiftly by developing new approaches to reach women with safe abortion care including telemedicine and home-based provision of medical abortion. Strong evidence generated from this work supports the continuation and strengthening of these approaches beyond the end of the pandemic. Cameroon Cameroon National Planning Association for Family Welfare (CAMNAFAW) To ensure that quality abortion care can be provided to women during travel restrictions, CAMNAFAW’s service providers travel to partner clinics in underserved areas and to clients’ homes to provide medical and surgical abortion care. This model of taking safe abortion care closer to women will continue even with easing of travel restrictions, as this has been found to be an effective and acceptable approach to increasing access.Photo: IPPF/Xaume Olleros/Cameroon Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Guinea Association Guinéenne pour le Bien-Etre Familial (AGBEF) Building on lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Guinea, AGBEF quickly took measures to prevent infection in its clinics to continue providing sexual and reproductive healthcare, including surgical and medical abortion, in a safe environment. AGBEF donated protective materials to communities, including hand-washing stations, face masks and antibacterial gel, alongside messaging on infection prevention. This community visibility reassures clients they can safely attend AGBEF clinics for abortion and contraceptive care.Photo: AGBEF/Guinea Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email India Family Planning Association of India (FPA India) FPA India and partners advocated to have sexual and reproductive healthcare, including abortion, recognized as essential by the government, which meant FPA India could continue healthcare delivery during the national lockdown. To reduce in-person clinic visits, FPA India established teleconsultation and counselling for abortion care, and is continuing to provide in-clinic care for both medical and surgical abortion. Photo: IPPF/Alison Joyce/India Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Nepal Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN) FPAN and partners advocated for interim approval of home provision of medical abortion and telemedicine for abortion counselling during COVID-19. FPAN is now implementing these approaches, ensuring continued access to abortion care in Nepal, where many people live in remote locations with limited mobility, which has been further restricted by COVID-19 lockdowns. Photo: FPAN/Nepal Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Pakistan Rahnuma – Family Planning Association of Pakistan (Rahnuma-FPAP) Rahnuma-FPAP and partners successfully advocated for the government to class sexual and reproductive healthcare as ‘essential’, which enabled the team to continue providing post-abortion care during the pandemic. Rahnuma-FPAP expanded its telemedicine and home-based provision for menstrual regulation counselling and post-abortion care. These new approaches have ensured continued access to services for clients unable to reach clinics.Photo: Rahnuma-FPAP/Pakistan Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Palestine Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA) In response to the government-mandated closure of its clinics, PFPPA quickly established a toll-free call centre which provides consultations, counselling, referrals and follow-up, including consultation for abortion care through a harm reduction approach, ensuring that women are provided with accurate information. Due to its success, PFPPA is exploring options for continuing this healthcare delivery model beyond the pandemic, with the aim of keeping it free of charge for users.Photo: SAAF/Samar Hazboun/Palestine Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Sudan Sudan Family Planning Association (SFPA) Following a nation-wide shutdown in April, SFPA  established  a call centre to increase access to healthcare, including abortion and contraceptive counselling and referrals.  An unexpected outcome of the new call centre is that it has reached an increased number of young women who regularly call to discuss their reproductive health and rights. SFPA  is working  towards institutionalizing this model for continuation beyond the pandemic.Photo: SFPA/Sudan Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Togo Association Togolaise pour le Bien-Etre Familial (ATBEF) ATBEF adapted its mobile application ‘Infos Ado Jeunes’, adding a toll-free teleconsultation service for young clients to use to access abortion consultations and pre- and post-abortion counselling. This app has given young clients ongoing access to care when they face challenges travelling to clinics. It has also eased overall client flow in clinics at a time when social distancing is being implemented.Photo: ATBEF/Togo Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email

Muna receiving her implant
story

| 15 February 2019

"I’m so happy I now don’t have to worry about contraception for another five years”

In August 2017, weeks of continued and heavy rainfall across Nepal resulted in flash floods and landslides that affected 36 of the 75 districts. Many people lost their homes or were displaced. It was estimated that of those affected, 112,500 were women of reproductive age, including 8,694 pregnant women.  IPPF Humanitarian, through their Member Association, The Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN), activated its emergency response system early on. With funding support from the Australian Government, FPAN and IPPF Humanitarian initially mobilised their response in four of the worst affected districts (Sunsari, Saptari, Bardiya, and Dang). Mobile medical camps were established to meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of the affected population, including through the distribution of short and long acting methods of contraception, STI and HIV screening, and GBV referrals. In collaboration with the USAID-SIFPO project, services were then expanded into five more affected districts. IPPF Humanitarian spoke with 21-year old Muna in her home district of Sunsari in Nepal.  “I got married at 16 years old and have two children, a four-year-old girl and two-year-old boy.  In my caste, we get married early, so my parents took me to get an arranged marriage. I was in the 8th class at the time, and returned to school after I got married, but only lasted one year.  My husband works in construction and had to stop working for two weeks when the floods came. When he doesn’t work, he doesn’t get paid, so it’s been very difficult.  A FPAN social worker told me about the mobile medical camp today. I used to be on the three-month injectable but today I changed to the five-year implant in my arm.  When my youngest child was eight months old I found out I was pregnant again. I decided to discontinue that pregnancy, so I took the five small tablets given to me by my neighbourhood doctor. I was two months pregnant at the time.  From this, I had two days bleeding and cramp like pain, and then weakness. I decided to abort that pregnancy because my youngest will still only eight months old, and I didn’t want any more children.  If I had more than two children, it would be very difficult to feed and educate them, and would badly affect my body too. I’m so happy I now don’t have to worry about contraception for another five years.” Want to know more about safe abortion access? Join IPPF'S I Decide movement

Muna receiving her implant
story

| 19 May 2022

"I’m so happy I now don’t have to worry about contraception for another five years”

In August 2017, weeks of continued and heavy rainfall across Nepal resulted in flash floods and landslides that affected 36 of the 75 districts. Many people lost their homes or were displaced. It was estimated that of those affected, 112,500 were women of reproductive age, including 8,694 pregnant women.  IPPF Humanitarian, through their Member Association, The Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN), activated its emergency response system early on. With funding support from the Australian Government, FPAN and IPPF Humanitarian initially mobilised their response in four of the worst affected districts (Sunsari, Saptari, Bardiya, and Dang). Mobile medical camps were established to meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of the affected population, including through the distribution of short and long acting methods of contraception, STI and HIV screening, and GBV referrals. In collaboration with the USAID-SIFPO project, services were then expanded into five more affected districts. IPPF Humanitarian spoke with 21-year old Muna in her home district of Sunsari in Nepal.  “I got married at 16 years old and have two children, a four-year-old girl and two-year-old boy.  In my caste, we get married early, so my parents took me to get an arranged marriage. I was in the 8th class at the time, and returned to school after I got married, but only lasted one year.  My husband works in construction and had to stop working for two weeks when the floods came. When he doesn’t work, he doesn’t get paid, so it’s been very difficult.  A FPAN social worker told me about the mobile medical camp today. I used to be on the three-month injectable but today I changed to the five-year implant in my arm.  When my youngest child was eight months old I found out I was pregnant again. I decided to discontinue that pregnancy, so I took the five small tablets given to me by my neighbourhood doctor. I was two months pregnant at the time.  From this, I had two days bleeding and cramp like pain, and then weakness. I decided to abort that pregnancy because my youngest will still only eight months old, and I didn’t want any more children.  If I had more than two children, it would be very difficult to feed and educate them, and would badly affect my body too. I’m so happy I now don’t have to worry about contraception for another five years.” Want to know more about safe abortion access? Join IPPF'S I Decide movement

ミラン・カダカさん
story

| 29 November 2017

Meet the college student who uses his music to battle the stigma surrounding HIV

Milan Khadka was just ten years old when he lost both his parents to HIV. “When I lost my parents, I used to feel so alone, like I didn’t have anyone in the world,” he says. “Whenever I saw other children getting love from others, I used to feel that I also might get that kind of love if I hadn’t lost my parents.” Like thousands of Nepali children, Milan’s parents left Nepal for India in search of work. Milan grew up in India until he was ten, when his mother died of AIDS-related causes. The family then returned to Nepal, but just eight months later, his father also died, and Milan was left in the care of his grandmother. “After I lost my parents, I went for VCT [voluntary counselling and testing] to check if I had HIV in my body,” Milan says. “After I was diagnosed as HIV positive, slowly all the people in the area found out about my status and there was so much discrimination. My friends at school didn’t want to sit with me and they humiliated and bullied me,” he says. “At home, I had a separate sleeping area and sleeping materials, separate dishes and a separate comb for my hair. I had to sleep alone.” Things began to improve for Milan when he met a local woman called Lakshmi Kunwar. After discovering she was HIV-positive, Lakshmi had dedicated her life to helping people living with HIV in Palpa, working as a community home-based care mobiliser for the Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN) and other organisations. Struck by the plight of this small, orphaned boy, Lakshmi spoke to Milan’s family and teachers, who in turn spoke to his school mates. “After she spoke to my teachers, they started to support me,” Milan says. “And after getting information about HIV, my school friends started to like me and share things with me. And they said: ‘Milan has no one in this world, so we are the ones who must be with him. Who knows that what happened to him might not happen to us?” Lakshmi mentored him through school and college, encouraging him in his schoolwork. “Lakshmi is more than my mother,” he says. “My mother only gave birth to me but Lakshmi has looked after me all this time. Even if my mother was alive today, she might not do all the things for me that Lakshmi has done.” Milan went on to become a grade A student, regularly coming top of his class and leaving school with flying colours. Today, twenty-one-year-old Milan lives a busy and fulfilling life, juggling his college studies, his work as a community home-based care (CHBC) mobiliser for FPAN and a burgeoning music career. When not studying for a Bachelor’s of education at university in Tansen, he works as a CHBC mobiliser for FPAN, visiting villages in the area to raise awareness about how to prevent and treat HIV, and to distribute contraception. He also offers support to children living with HIV, explaining to them how he lost his parents and faced discrimination but now leads a happy and successful life. “There are 40 children in this area living with HIV,” he says. “I talk to them, collect information from them and help them get the support they need. And I tell them: ‘If I had given up at that time, I would not be like this now. So you also shouldn’t give up, and you have to live your life.” Watch Milan's story below:      

ミラン・カダカさん
story

| 19 May 2022

Meet the college student who uses his music to battle the stigma surrounding HIV

Milan Khadka was just ten years old when he lost both his parents to HIV. “When I lost my parents, I used to feel so alone, like I didn’t have anyone in the world,” he says. “Whenever I saw other children getting love from others, I used to feel that I also might get that kind of love if I hadn’t lost my parents.” Like thousands of Nepali children, Milan’s parents left Nepal for India in search of work. Milan grew up in India until he was ten, when his mother died of AIDS-related causes. The family then returned to Nepal, but just eight months later, his father also died, and Milan was left in the care of his grandmother. “After I lost my parents, I went for VCT [voluntary counselling and testing] to check if I had HIV in my body,” Milan says. “After I was diagnosed as HIV positive, slowly all the people in the area found out about my status and there was so much discrimination. My friends at school didn’t want to sit with me and they humiliated and bullied me,” he says. “At home, I had a separate sleeping area and sleeping materials, separate dishes and a separate comb for my hair. I had to sleep alone.” Things began to improve for Milan when he met a local woman called Lakshmi Kunwar. After discovering she was HIV-positive, Lakshmi had dedicated her life to helping people living with HIV in Palpa, working as a community home-based care mobiliser for the Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN) and other organisations. Struck by the plight of this small, orphaned boy, Lakshmi spoke to Milan’s family and teachers, who in turn spoke to his school mates. “After she spoke to my teachers, they started to support me,” Milan says. “And after getting information about HIV, my school friends started to like me and share things with me. And they said: ‘Milan has no one in this world, so we are the ones who must be with him. Who knows that what happened to him might not happen to us?” Lakshmi mentored him through school and college, encouraging him in his schoolwork. “Lakshmi is more than my mother,” he says. “My mother only gave birth to me but Lakshmi has looked after me all this time. Even if my mother was alive today, she might not do all the things for me that Lakshmi has done.” Milan went on to become a grade A student, regularly coming top of his class and leaving school with flying colours. Today, twenty-one-year-old Milan lives a busy and fulfilling life, juggling his college studies, his work as a community home-based care (CHBC) mobiliser for FPAN and a burgeoning music career. When not studying for a Bachelor’s of education at university in Tansen, he works as a CHBC mobiliser for FPAN, visiting villages in the area to raise awareness about how to prevent and treat HIV, and to distribute contraception. He also offers support to children living with HIV, explaining to them how he lost his parents and faced discrimination but now leads a happy and successful life. “There are 40 children in this area living with HIV,” he says. “I talk to them, collect information from them and help them get the support they need. And I tell them: ‘If I had given up at that time, I would not be like this now. So you also shouldn’t give up, and you have to live your life.” Watch Milan's story below:      

Woman sat down
story

| 12 September 2017

"I said to myself: I will live and I will let others living with HIV live"

Lakshmi Kunwar married young, at the age of 17. Shortly afterwards, Lakshmi’s husband, who worked as a migrant labourer in India, was diagnosed with HIV and died. “At that time, I was completely unaware of HIV,” Lakshmi says. “My husband had information that if someone is diagnosed with HIV, they will die very soon. So after he was diagnosed, he didn’t eat anything and he became very ill and after six months he died. He gave up.” Lakshmi contracted HIV too, and the early years of living with it were arduous. “It was a huge burden,” she says. “I didn’t want to eat anything so I ate very little. My weight at the time was 44 kilograms. I had different infections in my skin and allergies in her body. It was really a difficult time for me. … I was just waiting for my death. I got support from my home and in-laws but my neighbours started to discriminate against me – like they said HIV may transfer via different insects and parasites like lice.” Dedicating her life to help others Lakshmi’s life began to improve when she came across an organisation in Palpa that offered support to people living with HIV (PLHIV). “They told me that there is medicine for PLHIV which will prolong our lives,” she explains. “They took me to Kathmandu, where I got training and information on HIV and I started taking ARVs [antiretroviral drugs].” In Kathmandu Lakshmi decided that she would dedicate the rest of her life to supporting people living with HIV. “I made a plan that I would come back home [to Palpa], disclose my status and then do social work with other people living with HIV, so that they too may have hope to live. I said to myself: I will live and I will let others living with HIV live”. Stories Read more stories about our work with people living with HIV

Woman sat down
story

| 19 May 2022

"I said to myself: I will live and I will let others living with HIV live"

Lakshmi Kunwar married young, at the age of 17. Shortly afterwards, Lakshmi’s husband, who worked as a migrant labourer in India, was diagnosed with HIV and died. “At that time, I was completely unaware of HIV,” Lakshmi says. “My husband had information that if someone is diagnosed with HIV, they will die very soon. So after he was diagnosed, he didn’t eat anything and he became very ill and after six months he died. He gave up.” Lakshmi contracted HIV too, and the early years of living with it were arduous. “It was a huge burden,” she says. “I didn’t want to eat anything so I ate very little. My weight at the time was 44 kilograms. I had different infections in my skin and allergies in her body. It was really a difficult time for me. … I was just waiting for my death. I got support from my home and in-laws but my neighbours started to discriminate against me – like they said HIV may transfer via different insects and parasites like lice.” Dedicating her life to help others Lakshmi’s life began to improve when she came across an organisation in Palpa that offered support to people living with HIV (PLHIV). “They told me that there is medicine for PLHIV which will prolong our lives,” she explains. “They took me to Kathmandu, where I got training and information on HIV and I started taking ARVs [antiretroviral drugs].” In Kathmandu Lakshmi decided that she would dedicate the rest of her life to supporting people living with HIV. “I made a plan that I would come back home [to Palpa], disclose my status and then do social work with other people living with HIV, so that they too may have hope to live. I said to myself: I will live and I will let others living with HIV live”. Stories Read more stories about our work with people living with HIV

Woman's face
story

| 08 September 2017

“Attitudes of younger people to HIV are not changing fast"

“When I was 14, I was trafficked to India,” says 35-year-old Lakshmi Lama. “I was made unconscious and was taken to Mumbai. When I woke up, I didn’t even know that I had been trafficked, I didn’t know where I was.” Every year, thousands of Nepali women and girls are trafficked to India, some lured with the promise of domestic work only to find themselves in brothels or working as sex slaves. The visa-free border with India means the actual number of women and girls trafficked from Nepal is likely to be much higher. The earthquake of April 2015 also led to a surge in trafficking: women and girls living in tents or temporary housing, and young orphaned children were particularly vulnerable to traffickers. “I was in Mumbai for three years,” says Lakshmi. “Then I managed to send letters and photographs to my parents and eventually they came to Mumbai and helped rescue me from that place". During her time in India, Lakshmi contracted HIV. Life after her diagnosis was tough, Lakshmi explains. “When I was diagnosed with HIV, people used to discriminate saying, “you’ve got HIV and it might transfer to us so don’t come to our home, don’t touch us,’” she says. “It’s very challenging for people living with HIV in Nepal. People really suffer.” Today, Lakshmi lives in Banepa, a busy town around 25 kilometres east of Kathmandu. Things began to improve for her, she says, when she started attending HIV awareness classes run by Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN). Eventually she herself trained as an FPAN peer educator, and she now works hard visiting communities in Kavre, raising awareness about HIV prevention and treatment, and bringing people together to tackle stigma around the virus. The government needs to do far more to tackle HIV stigma in Nepal, particularly at village level, Lakshmi says, “Attitudes of younger people to HIV are not changing fast. People still say to me: ‘you have HIV, you may die soon’. There is so much stigma and discrimination in this community.” Stories Read more stories about our work with people living with HIV

Woman's face
story

| 19 May 2022

“Attitudes of younger people to HIV are not changing fast"

“When I was 14, I was trafficked to India,” says 35-year-old Lakshmi Lama. “I was made unconscious and was taken to Mumbai. When I woke up, I didn’t even know that I had been trafficked, I didn’t know where I was.” Every year, thousands of Nepali women and girls are trafficked to India, some lured with the promise of domestic work only to find themselves in brothels or working as sex slaves. The visa-free border with India means the actual number of women and girls trafficked from Nepal is likely to be much higher. The earthquake of April 2015 also led to a surge in trafficking: women and girls living in tents or temporary housing, and young orphaned children were particularly vulnerable to traffickers. “I was in Mumbai for three years,” says Lakshmi. “Then I managed to send letters and photographs to my parents and eventually they came to Mumbai and helped rescue me from that place". During her time in India, Lakshmi contracted HIV. Life after her diagnosis was tough, Lakshmi explains. “When I was diagnosed with HIV, people used to discriminate saying, “you’ve got HIV and it might transfer to us so don’t come to our home, don’t touch us,’” she says. “It’s very challenging for people living with HIV in Nepal. People really suffer.” Today, Lakshmi lives in Banepa, a busy town around 25 kilometres east of Kathmandu. Things began to improve for her, she says, when she started attending HIV awareness classes run by Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN). Eventually she herself trained as an FPAN peer educator, and she now works hard visiting communities in Kavre, raising awareness about HIV prevention and treatment, and bringing people together to tackle stigma around the virus. The government needs to do far more to tackle HIV stigma in Nepal, particularly at village level, Lakshmi says, “Attitudes of younger people to HIV are not changing fast. People still say to me: ‘you have HIV, you may die soon’. There is so much stigma and discrimination in this community.” Stories Read more stories about our work with people living with HIV

Woman sitting outside her home
story

| 08 September 2017

'My neighbours used to discriminate against me and I suffered violence at the hands of my community'

"My husband used to work in India, and when he came back, he got ill and died," says Durga Thame. "We didn’t know that he was HIV-positive, but then then later my daughter got sick with typhoid and went to hospital and was diagnosed with HIV and died, and then I was tested and was found positive." Her story is tragic, but one all too familiar for the women living in this region. Men often travel to India in search of work, where they contract HIV and upon their return infect their wives. For Durga, the death of her husband and daughter and her own HIV positive diagnosis threw her into despair.  "My neighbours used to discriminate against me … and I suffered violence at the hands of my community. Everybody used to say that they couldn’t eat whatever I cooked because they might get HIV." Then Durga heard about HIV education classes run by the Palpa branch of the Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN), a short bus journey up the road in Tansen, the capital of Palpa.  "At those meetings, I got information about HIV," she says. "When I came back to my village, I began telling my neighbours about HIV. They came to know the facts and they realised it was a myth that HIV could be transferred by sharing food. Then they began treating me well." FPAN ran nutrition, hygiene, sanitation and livelihood classes that helped Durga turn the fortunes of her small homestead around. Durga sells goats and hens, and with these earnings supports her family – her father-in-law and her surviving daughter, who she says has not yet been tested for HIV. "I want to educate my daughter," she says. "I really hope I can provide a better education for her." Stories Read more stories about our work with people living with HIV  

Woman sitting outside her home
story

| 19 May 2022

'My neighbours used to discriminate against me and I suffered violence at the hands of my community'

"My husband used to work in India, and when he came back, he got ill and died," says Durga Thame. "We didn’t know that he was HIV-positive, but then then later my daughter got sick with typhoid and went to hospital and was diagnosed with HIV and died, and then I was tested and was found positive." Her story is tragic, but one all too familiar for the women living in this region. Men often travel to India in search of work, where they contract HIV and upon their return infect their wives. For Durga, the death of her husband and daughter and her own HIV positive diagnosis threw her into despair.  "My neighbours used to discriminate against me … and I suffered violence at the hands of my community. Everybody used to say that they couldn’t eat whatever I cooked because they might get HIV." Then Durga heard about HIV education classes run by the Palpa branch of the Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN), a short bus journey up the road in Tansen, the capital of Palpa.  "At those meetings, I got information about HIV," she says. "When I came back to my village, I began telling my neighbours about HIV. They came to know the facts and they realised it was a myth that HIV could be transferred by sharing food. Then they began treating me well." FPAN ran nutrition, hygiene, sanitation and livelihood classes that helped Durga turn the fortunes of her small homestead around. Durga sells goats and hens, and with these earnings supports her family – her father-in-law and her surviving daughter, who she says has not yet been tested for HIV. "I want to educate my daughter," she says. "I really hope I can provide a better education for her." Stories Read more stories about our work with people living with HIV  

Healthcare worker with combipack.
story

| 23 September 2020

In pictures: Innovating during COVID-19

Women around the world have faced multiple barriers to accessing safe abortion care during the COVID-19 pandemic including the de-prioritization of sexual and reproductive healthcare, overwhelmed health systems and restrictions on movement. The COVID-19 crisis has sparked innovation among IPPF Member Associations who responded swiftly by developing new approaches to reach women with safe abortion care including telemedicine and home-based provision of medical abortion. Strong evidence generated from this work supports the continuation and strengthening of these approaches beyond the end of the pandemic. Cameroon Cameroon National Planning Association for Family Welfare (CAMNAFAW) To ensure that quality abortion care can be provided to women during travel restrictions, CAMNAFAW’s service providers travel to partner clinics in underserved areas and to clients’ homes to provide medical and surgical abortion care. This model of taking safe abortion care closer to women will continue even with easing of travel restrictions, as this has been found to be an effective and acceptable approach to increasing access.Photo: IPPF/Xaume Olleros/Cameroon Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Guinea Association Guinéenne pour le Bien-Etre Familial (AGBEF) Building on lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Guinea, AGBEF quickly took measures to prevent infection in its clinics to continue providing sexual and reproductive healthcare, including surgical and medical abortion, in a safe environment. AGBEF donated protective materials to communities, including hand-washing stations, face masks and antibacterial gel, alongside messaging on infection prevention. This community visibility reassures clients they can safely attend AGBEF clinics for abortion and contraceptive care.Photo: AGBEF/Guinea Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email India Family Planning Association of India (FPA India) FPA India and partners advocated to have sexual and reproductive healthcare, including abortion, recognized as essential by the government, which meant FPA India could continue healthcare delivery during the national lockdown. To reduce in-person clinic visits, FPA India established teleconsultation and counselling for abortion care, and is continuing to provide in-clinic care for both medical and surgical abortion. Photo: IPPF/Alison Joyce/India Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Nepal Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN) FPAN and partners advocated for interim approval of home provision of medical abortion and telemedicine for abortion counselling during COVID-19. FPAN is now implementing these approaches, ensuring continued access to abortion care in Nepal, where many people live in remote locations with limited mobility, which has been further restricted by COVID-19 lockdowns. Photo: FPAN/Nepal Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Pakistan Rahnuma – Family Planning Association of Pakistan (Rahnuma-FPAP) Rahnuma-FPAP and partners successfully advocated for the government to class sexual and reproductive healthcare as ‘essential’, which enabled the team to continue providing post-abortion care during the pandemic. Rahnuma-FPAP expanded its telemedicine and home-based provision for menstrual regulation counselling and post-abortion care. These new approaches have ensured continued access to services for clients unable to reach clinics.Photo: Rahnuma-FPAP/Pakistan Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Palestine Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA) In response to the government-mandated closure of its clinics, PFPPA quickly established a toll-free call centre which provides consultations, counselling, referrals and follow-up, including consultation for abortion care through a harm reduction approach, ensuring that women are provided with accurate information. Due to its success, PFPPA is exploring options for continuing this healthcare delivery model beyond the pandemic, with the aim of keeping it free of charge for users.Photo: SAAF/Samar Hazboun/Palestine Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Sudan Sudan Family Planning Association (SFPA) Following a nation-wide shutdown in April, SFPA  established  a call centre to increase access to healthcare, including abortion and contraceptive counselling and referrals.  An unexpected outcome of the new call centre is that it has reached an increased number of young women who regularly call to discuss their reproductive health and rights. SFPA  is working  towards institutionalizing this model for continuation beyond the pandemic.Photo: SFPA/Sudan Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Togo Association Togolaise pour le Bien-Etre Familial (ATBEF) ATBEF adapted its mobile application ‘Infos Ado Jeunes’, adding a toll-free teleconsultation service for young clients to use to access abortion consultations and pre- and post-abortion counselling. This app has given young clients ongoing access to care when they face challenges travelling to clinics. It has also eased overall client flow in clinics at a time when social distancing is being implemented.Photo: ATBEF/Togo Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email

Healthcare worker with combipack.
story

| 19 May 2022

In pictures: Innovating during COVID-19

Women around the world have faced multiple barriers to accessing safe abortion care during the COVID-19 pandemic including the de-prioritization of sexual and reproductive healthcare, overwhelmed health systems and restrictions on movement. The COVID-19 crisis has sparked innovation among IPPF Member Associations who responded swiftly by developing new approaches to reach women with safe abortion care including telemedicine and home-based provision of medical abortion. Strong evidence generated from this work supports the continuation and strengthening of these approaches beyond the end of the pandemic. Cameroon Cameroon National Planning Association for Family Welfare (CAMNAFAW) To ensure that quality abortion care can be provided to women during travel restrictions, CAMNAFAW’s service providers travel to partner clinics in underserved areas and to clients’ homes to provide medical and surgical abortion care. This model of taking safe abortion care closer to women will continue even with easing of travel restrictions, as this has been found to be an effective and acceptable approach to increasing access.Photo: IPPF/Xaume Olleros/Cameroon Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Guinea Association Guinéenne pour le Bien-Etre Familial (AGBEF) Building on lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Guinea, AGBEF quickly took measures to prevent infection in its clinics to continue providing sexual and reproductive healthcare, including surgical and medical abortion, in a safe environment. AGBEF donated protective materials to communities, including hand-washing stations, face masks and antibacterial gel, alongside messaging on infection prevention. This community visibility reassures clients they can safely attend AGBEF clinics for abortion and contraceptive care.Photo: AGBEF/Guinea Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email India Family Planning Association of India (FPA India) FPA India and partners advocated to have sexual and reproductive healthcare, including abortion, recognized as essential by the government, which meant FPA India could continue healthcare delivery during the national lockdown. To reduce in-person clinic visits, FPA India established teleconsultation and counselling for abortion care, and is continuing to provide in-clinic care for both medical and surgical abortion. Photo: IPPF/Alison Joyce/India Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Nepal Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN) FPAN and partners advocated for interim approval of home provision of medical abortion and telemedicine for abortion counselling during COVID-19. FPAN is now implementing these approaches, ensuring continued access to abortion care in Nepal, where many people live in remote locations with limited mobility, which has been further restricted by COVID-19 lockdowns. Photo: FPAN/Nepal Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Pakistan Rahnuma – Family Planning Association of Pakistan (Rahnuma-FPAP) Rahnuma-FPAP and partners successfully advocated for the government to class sexual and reproductive healthcare as ‘essential’, which enabled the team to continue providing post-abortion care during the pandemic. Rahnuma-FPAP expanded its telemedicine and home-based provision for menstrual regulation counselling and post-abortion care. These new approaches have ensured continued access to services for clients unable to reach clinics.Photo: Rahnuma-FPAP/Pakistan Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Palestine Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA) In response to the government-mandated closure of its clinics, PFPPA quickly established a toll-free call centre which provides consultations, counselling, referrals and follow-up, including consultation for abortion care through a harm reduction approach, ensuring that women are provided with accurate information. Due to its success, PFPPA is exploring options for continuing this healthcare delivery model beyond the pandemic, with the aim of keeping it free of charge for users.Photo: SAAF/Samar Hazboun/Palestine Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Sudan Sudan Family Planning Association (SFPA) Following a nation-wide shutdown in April, SFPA  established  a call centre to increase access to healthcare, including abortion and contraceptive counselling and referrals.  An unexpected outcome of the new call centre is that it has reached an increased number of young women who regularly call to discuss their reproductive health and rights. SFPA  is working  towards institutionalizing this model for continuation beyond the pandemic.Photo: SFPA/Sudan Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Togo Association Togolaise pour le Bien-Etre Familial (ATBEF) ATBEF adapted its mobile application ‘Infos Ado Jeunes’, adding a toll-free teleconsultation service for young clients to use to access abortion consultations and pre- and post-abortion counselling. This app has given young clients ongoing access to care when they face challenges travelling to clinics. It has also eased overall client flow in clinics at a time when social distancing is being implemented.Photo: ATBEF/Togo Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email

Muna receiving her implant
story

| 15 February 2019

"I’m so happy I now don’t have to worry about contraception for another five years”

In August 2017, weeks of continued and heavy rainfall across Nepal resulted in flash floods and landslides that affected 36 of the 75 districts. Many people lost their homes or were displaced. It was estimated that of those affected, 112,500 were women of reproductive age, including 8,694 pregnant women.  IPPF Humanitarian, through their Member Association, The Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN), activated its emergency response system early on. With funding support from the Australian Government, FPAN and IPPF Humanitarian initially mobilised their response in four of the worst affected districts (Sunsari, Saptari, Bardiya, and Dang). Mobile medical camps were established to meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of the affected population, including through the distribution of short and long acting methods of contraception, STI and HIV screening, and GBV referrals. In collaboration with the USAID-SIFPO project, services were then expanded into five more affected districts. IPPF Humanitarian spoke with 21-year old Muna in her home district of Sunsari in Nepal.  “I got married at 16 years old and have two children, a four-year-old girl and two-year-old boy.  In my caste, we get married early, so my parents took me to get an arranged marriage. I was in the 8th class at the time, and returned to school after I got married, but only lasted one year.  My husband works in construction and had to stop working for two weeks when the floods came. When he doesn’t work, he doesn’t get paid, so it’s been very difficult.  A FPAN social worker told me about the mobile medical camp today. I used to be on the three-month injectable but today I changed to the five-year implant in my arm.  When my youngest child was eight months old I found out I was pregnant again. I decided to discontinue that pregnancy, so I took the five small tablets given to me by my neighbourhood doctor. I was two months pregnant at the time.  From this, I had two days bleeding and cramp like pain, and then weakness. I decided to abort that pregnancy because my youngest will still only eight months old, and I didn’t want any more children.  If I had more than two children, it would be very difficult to feed and educate them, and would badly affect my body too. I’m so happy I now don’t have to worry about contraception for another five years.” Want to know more about safe abortion access? Join IPPF'S I Decide movement

Muna receiving her implant
story

| 19 May 2022

"I’m so happy I now don’t have to worry about contraception for another five years”

In August 2017, weeks of continued and heavy rainfall across Nepal resulted in flash floods and landslides that affected 36 of the 75 districts. Many people lost their homes or were displaced. It was estimated that of those affected, 112,500 were women of reproductive age, including 8,694 pregnant women.  IPPF Humanitarian, through their Member Association, The Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN), activated its emergency response system early on. With funding support from the Australian Government, FPAN and IPPF Humanitarian initially mobilised their response in four of the worst affected districts (Sunsari, Saptari, Bardiya, and Dang). Mobile medical camps were established to meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of the affected population, including through the distribution of short and long acting methods of contraception, STI and HIV screening, and GBV referrals. In collaboration with the USAID-SIFPO project, services were then expanded into five more affected districts. IPPF Humanitarian spoke with 21-year old Muna in her home district of Sunsari in Nepal.  “I got married at 16 years old and have two children, a four-year-old girl and two-year-old boy.  In my caste, we get married early, so my parents took me to get an arranged marriage. I was in the 8th class at the time, and returned to school after I got married, but only lasted one year.  My husband works in construction and had to stop working for two weeks when the floods came. When he doesn’t work, he doesn’t get paid, so it’s been very difficult.  A FPAN social worker told me about the mobile medical camp today. I used to be on the three-month injectable but today I changed to the five-year implant in my arm.  When my youngest child was eight months old I found out I was pregnant again. I decided to discontinue that pregnancy, so I took the five small tablets given to me by my neighbourhood doctor. I was two months pregnant at the time.  From this, I had two days bleeding and cramp like pain, and then weakness. I decided to abort that pregnancy because my youngest will still only eight months old, and I didn’t want any more children.  If I had more than two children, it would be very difficult to feed and educate them, and would badly affect my body too. I’m so happy I now don’t have to worry about contraception for another five years.” Want to know more about safe abortion access? Join IPPF'S I Decide movement

ミラン・カダカさん
story

| 29 November 2017

Meet the college student who uses his music to battle the stigma surrounding HIV

Milan Khadka was just ten years old when he lost both his parents to HIV. “When I lost my parents, I used to feel so alone, like I didn’t have anyone in the world,” he says. “Whenever I saw other children getting love from others, I used to feel that I also might get that kind of love if I hadn’t lost my parents.” Like thousands of Nepali children, Milan’s parents left Nepal for India in search of work. Milan grew up in India until he was ten, when his mother died of AIDS-related causes. The family then returned to Nepal, but just eight months later, his father also died, and Milan was left in the care of his grandmother. “After I lost my parents, I went for VCT [voluntary counselling and testing] to check if I had HIV in my body,” Milan says. “After I was diagnosed as HIV positive, slowly all the people in the area found out about my status and there was so much discrimination. My friends at school didn’t want to sit with me and they humiliated and bullied me,” he says. “At home, I had a separate sleeping area and sleeping materials, separate dishes and a separate comb for my hair. I had to sleep alone.” Things began to improve for Milan when he met a local woman called Lakshmi Kunwar. After discovering she was HIV-positive, Lakshmi had dedicated her life to helping people living with HIV in Palpa, working as a community home-based care mobiliser for the Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN) and other organisations. Struck by the plight of this small, orphaned boy, Lakshmi spoke to Milan’s family and teachers, who in turn spoke to his school mates. “After she spoke to my teachers, they started to support me,” Milan says. “And after getting information about HIV, my school friends started to like me and share things with me. And they said: ‘Milan has no one in this world, so we are the ones who must be with him. Who knows that what happened to him might not happen to us?” Lakshmi mentored him through school and college, encouraging him in his schoolwork. “Lakshmi is more than my mother,” he says. “My mother only gave birth to me but Lakshmi has looked after me all this time. Even if my mother was alive today, she might not do all the things for me that Lakshmi has done.” Milan went on to become a grade A student, regularly coming top of his class and leaving school with flying colours. Today, twenty-one-year-old Milan lives a busy and fulfilling life, juggling his college studies, his work as a community home-based care (CHBC) mobiliser for FPAN and a burgeoning music career. When not studying for a Bachelor’s of education at university in Tansen, he works as a CHBC mobiliser for FPAN, visiting villages in the area to raise awareness about how to prevent and treat HIV, and to distribute contraception. He also offers support to children living with HIV, explaining to them how he lost his parents and faced discrimination but now leads a happy and successful life. “There are 40 children in this area living with HIV,” he says. “I talk to them, collect information from them and help them get the support they need. And I tell them: ‘If I had given up at that time, I would not be like this now. So you also shouldn’t give up, and you have to live your life.” Watch Milan's story below:      

ミラン・カダカさん
story

| 19 May 2022

Meet the college student who uses his music to battle the stigma surrounding HIV

Milan Khadka was just ten years old when he lost both his parents to HIV. “When I lost my parents, I used to feel so alone, like I didn’t have anyone in the world,” he says. “Whenever I saw other children getting love from others, I used to feel that I also might get that kind of love if I hadn’t lost my parents.” Like thousands of Nepali children, Milan’s parents left Nepal for India in search of work. Milan grew up in India until he was ten, when his mother died of AIDS-related causes. The family then returned to Nepal, but just eight months later, his father also died, and Milan was left in the care of his grandmother. “After I lost my parents, I went for VCT [voluntary counselling and testing] to check if I had HIV in my body,” Milan says. “After I was diagnosed as HIV positive, slowly all the people in the area found out about my status and there was so much discrimination. My friends at school didn’t want to sit with me and they humiliated and bullied me,” he says. “At home, I had a separate sleeping area and sleeping materials, separate dishes and a separate comb for my hair. I had to sleep alone.” Things began to improve for Milan when he met a local woman called Lakshmi Kunwar. After discovering she was HIV-positive, Lakshmi had dedicated her life to helping people living with HIV in Palpa, working as a community home-based care mobiliser for the Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN) and other organisations. Struck by the plight of this small, orphaned boy, Lakshmi spoke to Milan’s family and teachers, who in turn spoke to his school mates. “After she spoke to my teachers, they started to support me,” Milan says. “And after getting information about HIV, my school friends started to like me and share things with me. And they said: ‘Milan has no one in this world, so we are the ones who must be with him. Who knows that what happened to him might not happen to us?” Lakshmi mentored him through school and college, encouraging him in his schoolwork. “Lakshmi is more than my mother,” he says. “My mother only gave birth to me but Lakshmi has looked after me all this time. Even if my mother was alive today, she might not do all the things for me that Lakshmi has done.” Milan went on to become a grade A student, regularly coming top of his class and leaving school with flying colours. Today, twenty-one-year-old Milan lives a busy and fulfilling life, juggling his college studies, his work as a community home-based care (CHBC) mobiliser for FPAN and a burgeoning music career. When not studying for a Bachelor’s of education at university in Tansen, he works as a CHBC mobiliser for FPAN, visiting villages in the area to raise awareness about how to prevent and treat HIV, and to distribute contraception. He also offers support to children living with HIV, explaining to them how he lost his parents and faced discrimination but now leads a happy and successful life. “There are 40 children in this area living with HIV,” he says. “I talk to them, collect information from them and help them get the support they need. And I tell them: ‘If I had given up at that time, I would not be like this now. So you also shouldn’t give up, and you have to live your life.” Watch Milan's story below:      

Woman sat down
story

| 12 September 2017

"I said to myself: I will live and I will let others living with HIV live"

Lakshmi Kunwar married young, at the age of 17. Shortly afterwards, Lakshmi’s husband, who worked as a migrant labourer in India, was diagnosed with HIV and died. “At that time, I was completely unaware of HIV,” Lakshmi says. “My husband had information that if someone is diagnosed with HIV, they will die very soon. So after he was diagnosed, he didn’t eat anything and he became very ill and after six months he died. He gave up.” Lakshmi contracted HIV too, and the early years of living with it were arduous. “It was a huge burden,” she says. “I didn’t want to eat anything so I ate very little. My weight at the time was 44 kilograms. I had different infections in my skin and allergies in her body. It was really a difficult time for me. … I was just waiting for my death. I got support from my home and in-laws but my neighbours started to discriminate against me – like they said HIV may transfer via different insects and parasites like lice.” Dedicating her life to help others Lakshmi’s life began to improve when she came across an organisation in Palpa that offered support to people living with HIV (PLHIV). “They told me that there is medicine for PLHIV which will prolong our lives,” she explains. “They took me to Kathmandu, where I got training and information on HIV and I started taking ARVs [antiretroviral drugs].” In Kathmandu Lakshmi decided that she would dedicate the rest of her life to supporting people living with HIV. “I made a plan that I would come back home [to Palpa], disclose my status and then do social work with other people living with HIV, so that they too may have hope to live. I said to myself: I will live and I will let others living with HIV live”. Stories Read more stories about our work with people living with HIV

Woman sat down
story

| 19 May 2022

"I said to myself: I will live and I will let others living with HIV live"

Lakshmi Kunwar married young, at the age of 17. Shortly afterwards, Lakshmi’s husband, who worked as a migrant labourer in India, was diagnosed with HIV and died. “At that time, I was completely unaware of HIV,” Lakshmi says. “My husband had information that if someone is diagnosed with HIV, they will die very soon. So after he was diagnosed, he didn’t eat anything and he became very ill and after six months he died. He gave up.” Lakshmi contracted HIV too, and the early years of living with it were arduous. “It was a huge burden,” she says. “I didn’t want to eat anything so I ate very little. My weight at the time was 44 kilograms. I had different infections in my skin and allergies in her body. It was really a difficult time for me. … I was just waiting for my death. I got support from my home and in-laws but my neighbours started to discriminate against me – like they said HIV may transfer via different insects and parasites like lice.” Dedicating her life to help others Lakshmi’s life began to improve when she came across an organisation in Palpa that offered support to people living with HIV (PLHIV). “They told me that there is medicine for PLHIV which will prolong our lives,” she explains. “They took me to Kathmandu, where I got training and information on HIV and I started taking ARVs [antiretroviral drugs].” In Kathmandu Lakshmi decided that she would dedicate the rest of her life to supporting people living with HIV. “I made a plan that I would come back home [to Palpa], disclose my status and then do social work with other people living with HIV, so that they too may have hope to live. I said to myself: I will live and I will let others living with HIV live”. Stories Read more stories about our work with people living with HIV

Woman's face
story

| 08 September 2017

“Attitudes of younger people to HIV are not changing fast"

“When I was 14, I was trafficked to India,” says 35-year-old Lakshmi Lama. “I was made unconscious and was taken to Mumbai. When I woke up, I didn’t even know that I had been trafficked, I didn’t know where I was.” Every year, thousands of Nepali women and girls are trafficked to India, some lured with the promise of domestic work only to find themselves in brothels or working as sex slaves. The visa-free border with India means the actual number of women and girls trafficked from Nepal is likely to be much higher. The earthquake of April 2015 also led to a surge in trafficking: women and girls living in tents or temporary housing, and young orphaned children were particularly vulnerable to traffickers. “I was in Mumbai for three years,” says Lakshmi. “Then I managed to send letters and photographs to my parents and eventually they came to Mumbai and helped rescue me from that place". During her time in India, Lakshmi contracted HIV. Life after her diagnosis was tough, Lakshmi explains. “When I was diagnosed with HIV, people used to discriminate saying, “you’ve got HIV and it might transfer to us so don’t come to our home, don’t touch us,’” she says. “It’s very challenging for people living with HIV in Nepal. People really suffer.” Today, Lakshmi lives in Banepa, a busy town around 25 kilometres east of Kathmandu. Things began to improve for her, she says, when she started attending HIV awareness classes run by Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN). Eventually she herself trained as an FPAN peer educator, and she now works hard visiting communities in Kavre, raising awareness about HIV prevention and treatment, and bringing people together to tackle stigma around the virus. The government needs to do far more to tackle HIV stigma in Nepal, particularly at village level, Lakshmi says, “Attitudes of younger people to HIV are not changing fast. People still say to me: ‘you have HIV, you may die soon’. There is so much stigma and discrimination in this community.” Stories Read more stories about our work with people living with HIV

Woman's face
story

| 19 May 2022

“Attitudes of younger people to HIV are not changing fast"

“When I was 14, I was trafficked to India,” says 35-year-old Lakshmi Lama. “I was made unconscious and was taken to Mumbai. When I woke up, I didn’t even know that I had been trafficked, I didn’t know where I was.” Every year, thousands of Nepali women and girls are trafficked to India, some lured with the promise of domestic work only to find themselves in brothels or working as sex slaves. The visa-free border with India means the actual number of women and girls trafficked from Nepal is likely to be much higher. The earthquake of April 2015 also led to a surge in trafficking: women and girls living in tents or temporary housing, and young orphaned children were particularly vulnerable to traffickers. “I was in Mumbai for three years,” says Lakshmi. “Then I managed to send letters and photographs to my parents and eventually they came to Mumbai and helped rescue me from that place". During her time in India, Lakshmi contracted HIV. Life after her diagnosis was tough, Lakshmi explains. “When I was diagnosed with HIV, people used to discriminate saying, “you’ve got HIV and it might transfer to us so don’t come to our home, don’t touch us,’” she says. “It’s very challenging for people living with HIV in Nepal. People really suffer.” Today, Lakshmi lives in Banepa, a busy town around 25 kilometres east of Kathmandu. Things began to improve for her, she says, when she started attending HIV awareness classes run by Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN). Eventually she herself trained as an FPAN peer educator, and she now works hard visiting communities in Kavre, raising awareness about HIV prevention and treatment, and bringing people together to tackle stigma around the virus. The government needs to do far more to tackle HIV stigma in Nepal, particularly at village level, Lakshmi says, “Attitudes of younger people to HIV are not changing fast. People still say to me: ‘you have HIV, you may die soon’. There is so much stigma and discrimination in this community.” Stories Read more stories about our work with people living with HIV

Woman sitting outside her home
story

| 08 September 2017

'My neighbours used to discriminate against me and I suffered violence at the hands of my community'

"My husband used to work in India, and when he came back, he got ill and died," says Durga Thame. "We didn’t know that he was HIV-positive, but then then later my daughter got sick with typhoid and went to hospital and was diagnosed with HIV and died, and then I was tested and was found positive." Her story is tragic, but one all too familiar for the women living in this region. Men often travel to India in search of work, where they contract HIV and upon their return infect their wives. For Durga, the death of her husband and daughter and her own HIV positive diagnosis threw her into despair.  "My neighbours used to discriminate against me … and I suffered violence at the hands of my community. Everybody used to say that they couldn’t eat whatever I cooked because they might get HIV." Then Durga heard about HIV education classes run by the Palpa branch of the Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN), a short bus journey up the road in Tansen, the capital of Palpa.  "At those meetings, I got information about HIV," she says. "When I came back to my village, I began telling my neighbours about HIV. They came to know the facts and they realised it was a myth that HIV could be transferred by sharing food. Then they began treating me well." FPAN ran nutrition, hygiene, sanitation and livelihood classes that helped Durga turn the fortunes of her small homestead around. Durga sells goats and hens, and with these earnings supports her family – her father-in-law and her surviving daughter, who she says has not yet been tested for HIV. "I want to educate my daughter," she says. "I really hope I can provide a better education for her." Stories Read more stories about our work with people living with HIV  

Woman sitting outside her home
story

| 19 May 2022

'My neighbours used to discriminate against me and I suffered violence at the hands of my community'

"My husband used to work in India, and when he came back, he got ill and died," says Durga Thame. "We didn’t know that he was HIV-positive, but then then later my daughter got sick with typhoid and went to hospital and was diagnosed with HIV and died, and then I was tested and was found positive." Her story is tragic, but one all too familiar for the women living in this region. Men often travel to India in search of work, where they contract HIV and upon their return infect their wives. For Durga, the death of her husband and daughter and her own HIV positive diagnosis threw her into despair.  "My neighbours used to discriminate against me … and I suffered violence at the hands of my community. Everybody used to say that they couldn’t eat whatever I cooked because they might get HIV." Then Durga heard about HIV education classes run by the Palpa branch of the Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN), a short bus journey up the road in Tansen, the capital of Palpa.  "At those meetings, I got information about HIV," she says. "When I came back to my village, I began telling my neighbours about HIV. They came to know the facts and they realised it was a myth that HIV could be transferred by sharing food. Then they began treating me well." FPAN ran nutrition, hygiene, sanitation and livelihood classes that helped Durga turn the fortunes of her small homestead around. Durga sells goats and hens, and with these earnings supports her family – her father-in-law and her surviving daughter, who she says has not yet been tested for HIV. "I want to educate my daughter," she says. "I really hope I can provide a better education for her." Stories Read more stories about our work with people living with HIV