Couple Adopts 22 Abandoned HIV-Positive Children
An Indian couple, Rajib Thomas and Mini Reji, have given 22 homeless children born with HIV an incredible gift by opening their home to them over the last decade.
According to Metro UK, Mini cooks three meals a day for the 22 children (plus the couple's two biological teenagers), while Rajib takes care of their education and healthcare.
Rajib is affectionately known as "Papa Reji."
From Metro UK:
‘It was the year 2007 when I met an HIV-positive girl outside a hospital and she asked me to get some noodles for her,’ he said. ‘I couldn’t get it that day but promised to come back again.
‘The next day when I went there, I got to know that the girl was no more. I was devastated after hearing the news, so it was then that I thought of doing something for these children.’
After that, Papa Reji spoke to HIV/AIDs specialist Divya Mithale about taking the children in, and she arranged for him to take in two abandoned babies.
‘In 2009, I rented a bigger space for my wife and two children, and my other two HIV-positive newborns,’ he said.
‘Initially it was tough to make ends meet, but we survived the hardships by giving up comfort and helping the children.
‘Gradually people started donating mattresses, food and money when they saw us working for these children.
‘My family of four slowly expanded to 24, as more and more children with HIV were sent to me from different hospitals.’
‘We make sure that none of the children feel left out at home. We scold all of them as much we love them.
‘We celebrate their birthdays here and take immediate care when someone falls sick.’
Summing up the couple's generosity, Papa Reji shares:
‘These children all call me Papa and it is the duty of a father to protect his children,’ he said. ‘So I am not doing anything extraordinary – just taking care of my children.’
What a phenomenal gift. We hope this family continues to thrive!