Brazil: Casa Crianca Querida is an initiative supplying social work to poor HIV-positive families in the periphery of São Paulo. It all started in 1994 with an orphanage hosting 12 AIDS-orphans and expanded in 2001 with the founding of a daily-care centre. Initially it was just infants of HIV-positive parents who received aid by the organisation. By and by the initiative grew and added next to a baby- and infant-group, a kindergarten- and pre-school-group, a school kid- and youth-group, until nowadays the institution even includes a social-therapeutic assistance for parents, siblings and other family members of the supported children.
Tanja is one of the first kindergarten kids, admitted at “Casa Crianca Querida”. Due to the fact that her mother was a drug addict during pregnancy, Tanja suffers from side effects and “withdrawal”-syndromes causing a severe behavioural disorder. As a result of her grandmother’s decision to look after her granddaughter herself, one lost contact to Tanja until she was brought back – meanwhile aged 10 – by her grandmother. Being swamped by Tanja’s behaviour, her grandmother turned her custody in, resulting in the fact that Tanja joined an asylum. There she was evaluated and put in a group of teenagers aged 15-18 due to her aggressiveness.
For all the violence, drug usage and criminality she did not experience so far, Tanja lived through it now! Fearing to be raped by the older boys she begged her grandmother to take her away from the asylum. Thus her journey led Tanja to “Casa Crianca Querida”. The girl with the seemingly mistrusting eyes is now in the process of slowly being reintegrated into society. Nevertheless it will still take quite awhile until Tanja will be able to believe that a friendly word is really meant in an honest way.
Tanja’s story is just one example of the background of the children attending “Casa Crianca Querida” and coming from HIV-positive families. The co-workers of the initiative meet the difficult personal living condition of the children with a variety of offers. The kids are being picked up in the morning and brought home in the evening, they receive two meals and they are supported with homework-assistance, private lessons and additional education in languages, sports, art, handcraft and music. For the smaller kids the institution offers free and guided games, songs, round dance, handcrafting and other artistic activities. Quite a number of children have to relearn how to play in order to bit by bit rediscover the fun in their lives.
Due to the situation that an infection with HIV could be avoided in nearly a 100% of the cases, if adequate information and medicine would be accessible to everybody, it becomes clear how important the work of Casa Crianca Querida is. All in all the initiative gives children, who have been confronted with, violence, poverty and drugs since birth, the possibility to get to know something else and gain access to education.