Shri V.K. Sreekandan, Member of Parliament,
Smt. Prameela Sasidharan, Chairperson, Palakad Municipality,
Shri Vijay Sakhare, IPS, Inspector General of Police,
Shri D. Balamurali, IAS, District Collector,
Shri M.B. Rajesh, Former Member of Parliament,
Shri Jyothi Prakashan, President, Rotary Club,
Priyappetta Kochu koottukare,
Sahodaree Sahodaranmare
Ellavarkkum Ente Namaskaram.
It gives me great joy to inaugurate this programme, organized to distribute financial and educational aid to children who need society's attention and support.
Let me at the outset, appreciate the services rendered by Daya Charitable Trust since 2006, with the noble aim of helping the marginalized and disowned sections of society.  I am informed that Daya Charitable Trust has been  taking care of HIV infected  widows and their children, giving financial aid to chronically ill patients, conducting free medical camps and  creating awareness on organ donation etc. What has impressed me most is the social acceptance and appreciation received by this Trust through its activities. The Rotary Club of Kanhangad, which collaborates with the Trust also deserves appreciation for the social service they have been rendering.
The highlight of today's programme is the special focus on the HIV affected children and women. As all of us know, India has the third largest number of HIV affected people in the world.  Over a year ago, almost 88,000 people in India were newly infected with HIV. India is also home to a large number of orphans of the HIV epidemic. Our society has a responsibility to stand by these children and support them in their growth.
A redeeming factor with regard to HIV/AIDS is that, with the timely intervention of our medical professionals and health activists, the HIV infection in India has been reducing   by nearly 27 percent. In Kerala, too, there has been a marked reduction in the number of people being affected. HIV epidemic in the State is now largely confined to individuals with high-risk behavior.
Today, we have the HIV AIDS (prevention and control) Act 2014, which criminalises discrimination against people with HIV and AIDS, including within employment, healthcare, education etc.  In spite of such legal provisions, people living with HIV continue to suffer neglect and discrimination.
In fact, in a democracy which provides equal opportunities and rights, physical and mental disabilities should not be allowed to disrupt the growth and development of an individual. Instead, we must provide the atmosphere and facilities to help such people to lead a near to normal life, hand in hand with the privileged sections of the society. What we need to do is to provide a humane living environment for the socially, physically, and mentally challenged sections of our society. And, such efforts should be guided by values like Love, compassion, and trust.
We have seen how the persons affected by Aquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome [AIDS] were once forced to lead a marginalized and abandoned life. But, many agencies and kindhearted people came forward to provide such people a favourable living environment and emotional support. This helped to empower the children and women who were disowned because they were affected by HIV/AIDS.  I am happy that Daya Charitable Trust and the Rotary Club of Kanhangad have been providing support to such people.
I am happy to know that Daya Charitable Trust is working on a Monthly Financial Aid for children who are by birth mentally and physically challenged and bedridden. The plan to help the under privileged people who lost their earning power due to accidents is also laudable. Usually, Voluntary agencies find it difficult to raise resources for such projects. But here, it is good to know that salaried employees from different sectors have agreed to contribute to this effort. It shows the credibility earned by this Trust and its activities.
We need many such agencies and groups to come forward to help the people who need support. Besides, our   organizations like Rotary Club should work towards creating awareness about the various kinds of disabilities affecting our children. For instance, issues like Autism and learning difficulties are hampering the development of children and many parents among the underprivileged sections are not aware of such matters. Therefore, creation of awareness about the issues faced by children with disabilities should also become our priority. Our society needs to be trained to look at disability in children as something that can be handled through love and care.
I am informed that nearly 280 children are receiving the financial and educational support today. My request to the children is to move ahead confidently by studying well and by maintaining good friends. You must realize that the support provided today is society's duty towards you. We elders have the duty to ensure the rights of children. Today, Education is a fundamental right of every child. As per the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, the State is duty bound to provide you education.  And society has the obligation to support you. So, don't allow the present difficulties to discourage you in any way. Have confidence in your abilities and you will succeed in life.
I greet all the families and children who have received financial support and hope that this would benefit them in realizing their dreams.
I compliment the organizers i.e Daya Charitable Trust for conducting this function in a befitting manner and wish them all success.
Ellavarkkum Ente Aashamsakal
Jai Hind.