A Father’s Secret Life

Jiera loved her father more than anything, and she waited in anticipation for him to come home each day. But often, time would pass with no sign of him. Then finally one day when he came home, he had returned to drinking and was shouting at Jiera’s mother. He no longer took pride in himself, and he stopped caring for his family.

Unbeknownst to Jiera, her father was an HIV-positive transgender man who spent the time away from home with his transgender friends. Her mother lived in fear that she and her children would become outcasts in society if her extended family found out about her husband’s secret life.

Jiera’s father was admitted to EHA’s Shalom Delhi Project’s medical ward because of his poor adherence to his antiretroviral (ART) medication for HIV. After his release, he continued to drink heavily, and the Shalom staff made regular visits to his rented room, praying for him and counseling him to take his medication.

At the same time, Jiera’s mother was thankful to be able to open up and share the deep matters of her heart with the Shalom home-based-care staff who visited her. The support she received was invaluable.

Jiera was chosen to be part of Shalom’s adolescent and educational assistance programs. At just 11 years old, she has her entire life ahead of her to pursue her goals and show love to those around her. She longs for knowledge and is discovering a passion for teaching children.

Eventually, Jiera’s father passed away, and the Shalom team continue to care for this family, walking with them through their deep pain. Both the emotional support the staff provides as well as the practical help with educational costs mean the world to Jiera and her mother.