This profile was prepared when Kallol Ghosh was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Combining advocacy and networking with the building of hospitals and schools for HIV and AIDS-infected children, Kallol is not only improving the lives of the children associated with his organization, Organization for Friends, Energies & Resources (OFFER), but also creating a more AIDS aware and educated society to ensure that one day all HIV/AIDS infected children are able to receive the care and support they deserve. Under the umbrella of OFFER, founded by Kallol and his friends in 1987, Kallol founded Anandaghar, a home for abandoned HIV/AIDS infected children, in 2003, after realizing that too many HIV/AIDS infected children were being abandoned on the streets by parents too poor or too sick or too afraid to keep them. A school for HIV/AIDS infected children quickly followed as Kallol learned that regular schools often turn away such children or strike them off their rolls. Kallol also helps place the children with local government schools once they have completed their initial years of primary education. In order to provide appropriate health care facilities, Kallol built a 120 bed hospital in Kolkata to cater exclusively to HIV/AIDS infected children. Combining these services with outreach to a larger network of organizations, doctors, teachers, communities, and government officials, Kallol fosters both a nurturing and supportive environment for HIV/AIDS infected children. Not only is Kallol changing the lives of HIV infected children and whole communities by offering services and positive and educational interactions for all involved, but he is also changing the way educational institutions and the Government of India respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its effect on children. Kallol also conducts regular awareness-building and advocacy programs among doctors and works with adolescents and youth in AIDS education programs. With replication, further public policy advances, and better data collection on the epidemic in the region as his current projects, Kallol is holistically changing the way the Indian government and society understand the HIV/AIDS epidemic and support its youngest victims.