Every positive HIV
woman should be economically independent says P Kousalya the winner of
Nari Shakthi Puruskar award winner for the year 2014. She has won this award
along with Dr. Sailakshmi Balijepally and Dr. Nandita Krishna from Tamil Nadu.
She is the President of “Positive Women Network” and has been actively working
for the welfare of HIV positive women.
She began this
service in 1998. She lost her husband two years before she began this network.
When she approached a government office for a personal reason, one of the
officials asked her to give an interview to the press. That is how it all began.
She did give an interview and felt that she was of some use to the affected
women. She felt that there was no enough awareness about HIV at that time.
Network (PWN+), founded in October 1998, is a national voice of women living
with HIV/ AIDS in India. Consistent with its vision of HIV-positive women
empowered to live a life of dignity and equality, free from stigma and
discrimination, PWN+ represents issues affecting the quality of life of women
and children affected by the epidemic across India. Since its inception, PWN+
has been making change through the strategies of Action Research, Advocacy,
Capacity Building, Livelihood and Outreach / Services . PWN+ has carried out
these activities in partnership with Indian government (central, state and
local), UN agencies, and national and international civil society organizations
The vision of PWN is ‘ Women living with HIV/AIDS , children living
with HIV and children affected by HIV are all empowered to live a life of
dignity and equality, free from stigma and discrimination.’
The Positive Women Network (PWN+), has implemented various projects all geared
towards the improvement of the socio-economic and health status of women and
children living with HIV/AIDS. Projects were in the form of capacity building,
research, advocacy, education and partnership building, formation of state level
networks, livelihood, reproductive health, and psycho-social support to WLHIV in
13 states and 64 registered district networks. Last many years, they have been
working in close partnership with the Tamil Nadu State government and Andhra
State government, Tamil Nadu Social Welfare Board NACO, National Commission for
Women, UNDP, UNAIDS, UNICEF, Canadian Embassy, Dutch Embassy, ICHAP, Engender
Health, APAC, European Commission, UNIFEM, VSO India, VSO London, SAATHI and
other funding agencies. They are also working closely with corporate, companies
and charity organization to get support for education support for children and
donations for dresses, books for children infected/affected with HIV.
PWN+ is currently in 13 States of India covering 55 districts with total
membership of 30,000 women.
Communications Officer, PIB,
**Information Asst, PIB, Chennai