"Don't Separate Us From Our Parents"
Sixteen HIV+ girls, who have been rescued from government shelter facilities after reports of serious maltreatment, found a new sense of self in this family-run hostel. But state authorities want to shutdown the facility. The vulnerable girls are again threatened to be detached from the place they call home and the people they call parents.
"We were rarely allowed outside our bedrooms. When we were, we would get beaten and abused. So most of the times we stayed locked up, and our food was passed to us through the gap under the door."
"We were beaten and abused at the government shelter. We did not like it there. We felt very small. But now that we have a home and a family, they want to take us back... We are very scared."
The hostel is home to sixteen young girls, aged between 8 to 17 years old.
"Here we are free. We have friends and we are allowed to play with each other. Life is very different now."
"We have a family now. Why do they want to take that away from us?"
The owners of the hostel are trapped in a bureaucratic battle. Unless they agree — and have the means to — bribe state officials, the young girls are threatened to re-enter the cycle of abuse they experience at the government's shelter.