HIV positive children

Rajib Thomas: Father of 22 HIV positive children

HIV positive children


The world is full of hatred as well as kindness. In Mumbai, when parents chose to abandon their HIV positive children at the mercy of God, this man Rajib Thomas (45) adopts them to give them a new life.
Rajib Thomas from Mumbai has adopted 22 such HIV positive children. All these children reside in the same home along with his wife and two of his biological children.  His wife Mini Reji looks after their food and routine requirements while Rajib Thomas takes responsibility of their education and health.

That Incident

Rajib is known among these children as Papa Reji, but his life was different before starting this home for HIV children. He narrates about an incident that changed course of his life.
“It was in 2007 when I was going somewhere and suddenly a young girl, clad in torn cloths, came to me begging for food. I told her that I will provide her food but not today. Very next day I went to that place but she was not there. I asked people who used to stay around about her. Sadly, she had passed away due to HIV.”
This incident shook him so deeply that he couldn’t come out of the trauma for many weeks.
“I talked to my wife and we decided to move in a bigger house. From that day we have started adopting those children who are abandoned by their parents.
“I feel proud when I say that my family consists of 24 members and we are living together with love. They are HIV positive, but don’t mean they have to compromise with their happiness.
“I want to give them a long life that’s only what I want from my life,” said Papa Reji.

His work

Before adoption of children he was living in Navi Mumbai with his wife and two of their biological kids. Earlier they had to do a lot of struggle, he describes: “Because of space crunch in our old house, I took a house on rent at Navi Mumbai in year 2009. We, my wife, my two children and two HIV positive children moved in.
“Initially, we felt difficulties like we could hardly afford one bed on which all four children used to sleep. Later, when our family got few more members it became really hard to adjust without basic amenities.
“After few months when people started recognising our efforts, we got donations like grains, beds, money, food etc. Now we are 24 members family living under one roof.”
Rajib and his wife equally treat all these children. Mini Reji said, “We don’t let any of kid feel left out ever. We love and scold them equally.”
Has she ever felt any disgrace over touching a HIV positive person, she replied: “No, not any stigma or shame I have ever felt. It can be a phobia for one, for me they are my family. We also educate our biological children about myths on HIV and make them fully aware of this disease.”

Future Plan


Rajib is looking at adopting more children and keen to provide them a happy life. Apart from this, he wants to spread awareness about HIV. He believes that children who are infected with HIV syndrome need not to cut their life short. They can live as a normal person.
“All these children call me Papa, how can I break their trust when they love me like my own children. I will never deviate from my ideology thus it will be my fortune if people will adopt such children.”
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