“Getting a respectful amount as pension like Rs. 2000 or even less would make a big difference to our lives. But the schemes should be implemented transparently, because when we receive cash, we have to pay some amount to the people who are delivering it to us”- Mohanna, age 39, from Chennai:
“I live in Chennai with my mother and two school going children. I learnt of my HIV status 10 year ago when my husband was hospitalized for severe health problems. After his demise I started working as tailor in a garment company and since I was the sole bread earner we had to survive on the Rs.3000 that I was earning. After eight years I could no longer do this job because of various health problems and started working with PWN+ as an Out Reach Worker, earning Rs.5000 per month.
“I have a ration card and I get a Widow Pension of Rs.1000 but I am not able to access any government schemes because my health problems make it difficult for me to travel to various government offices to get officials to sign documents. But I have been accessing free ART for the last one and a half years and I get some help through the ART centre.
“But it is difficult to take care of a family of four with just Rs.6000 a month because I also have to keep some amount aside for my mother’s medication. She is not able to get any pension because she does not have proof of ID or of residence because we live in a rented house and we have to keep changing our residence due to issues with landlord and rent hike.
“Though I work for an NGO and am aware of the various government schemes meant for people like us I am not able to avail of them because when we approach government officials and introduce ourselves as a PLHIV, some may respond with sympathy but most of the times we are facing rejection from the officials.
“Getting a pension of Rs. 2000 or even less would make a big difference to our lives. But the schemes should be implemented transparently, because when we receive cash, we have to pay some amount to the people who are delivering it to us. People will get the benefit of these schemes only if these middlemen are removed”.