Hanh, aged 11
Hanh is 11 years old and loves going to school. She is in grade 4 and enjoys playing with her many friends who do not know she is living with HIV.
VNHIP first met Hanh in 2010 when she was four years old. The family was referred to us after her mother was diagnosed with HIV. When her mother died in 2010 due to HIV/AIDS her father was devastated by the loss of his wife and the knowledge that both he and Hanh had also contracted HIV. Hanh went to live with her grandmother at this time as the father was working. However he still made the decisions about Hanh’s life.
Hanh’s father didn’t see the point of her going to school and was worried she would pass the virus on to the other children if she did. We were able to persuade her father and the school that it would be safe for her to attend. Her father is happy now that she is doing so well and the school is very supportive. Hanh’s grand mother is so proud that she is always among the top students at school.
Hanh takes the local bus with her grandmother once a month to the Tam Ky clinic for treatment. For a poor family like Hanh’s it is expensive to get there and takes all day. Treatment for HIV/AIDs is provided free of charge throughout Vietnam until the end of 2016, but even free treatment can be difficult to access for those who can’t afford to get to a clinic. Hanh has a sponsor whose monthly payment helps the grandmother pay for their travel expenses amd some food
Like other children living with chronic disease, Hanh enjoys the activities organized by VNHIP. She has became more confident through contact with other children and is starting to dream about what her future might be .
When asked what she would like to be when she grows up, Hanh immediately says a doctor, so she can help others like her father. Her grandmother suggests tailoring, a more common occupation in the area.
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