Dashumati Devi becomes a beacon of hope for her community
Th. Dashumati Devi hails from Yairipok, Angtha district (East Imphal), Manipur. Her father was a School Teacher and her mother was a homemaker, and she grew up along with her 4 siblings. Th. Dashumati Devi has had a tragic past where she lost her husband only after 3 years of marriage, while they were expecting their first child.
However, she turned her tragedy into hope for others when she started her career in the year 2001, as an Outreach Worker with an NGO named Hope Care. Later she joined Plan India’s flagship programme AHANA, working towards a world where no child is born with HIV/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The intervention focuses on the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and is implemented by Plan India with support from The Global Fund.
As an Ahana’s Prerak, Dashumati essentially focuses on preventing parent-to-child transmission among women in the exposed and marginalized communities. The prevention is done by the medicine ART (antiretroviral therapy) which is given to the parents and NVP (Nevirapine) which is given to the offspring to prevent the transition from mother to child.
In the current pandemic scenario, the Ahana project faced difficulty reaching out to HIV-positive patients. To the patients already suffering from HIV/AIDS, the COVID-19 pandemic came as double hex to them as the nationwide lockdown has left them with limited access to hospitals or medical assistance.
During this situation, Dashumati went beyond her assigned tasks and provided essential ART medicine and hand-delivered the dosages to the houses of the women who required it regularly. She risked her own health as she thought that home delivery was the best solution at the point.
Dashumati says, “There are a lot of people from whom HIV/AIDS disease gets transmitted to their offerings. I work to contain this transmission through project AHANA and want to eradicate this dreadful disease.”
As a change-maker, Dashumati has counseled community members on a range of topics, including diet, hygiene, safe sex, breastfeeding, and family planning, to name a few. Several individuals of the community have been connected to various government initiatives as a result of her invaluable support. During COVID-19, along with the support of the Deputy Commissioner, she distributed food items to the family of pregnant and ones who recently delivered.
Dashumati has a convincing approach towards the beneficiaries and dreams of a society in which everyone is HIV-free. Over the years she has tirelessly worked for communities struggling with the disease. She has saved more than 70 infants from getting the virus transmitted from their mothers and has saved 40 adults from this deadly disease.
Dashumati received the Plan India Impact Award 2021 under the ‘Best Plan India Ahana Prerak’ category. Her humble efforts of going beyond her call of duty to support the vulnerable communities are truly incredible. She feels very encouraged after achieving the award and is motivated to continue her work in the best possible way.