The Positive Women Network of Rajasthan (PWNR) was founded in 1958 by a group of HIV positive women, but officially registered only in 2006. All the founding women had suffered bad experiences with current help centres; they had witnessed how women were being exploited by the men who were running these charitable centres. Being HIV positive themselves, they felt that only they truly understood what fellow patients were going through. They thus decided to start up their own NGO to care for these women and their children in a safe environment.
As its name signifies, PWNR mission is to ensure social justice, equality and protection of human rights of PLHAs through universal access of health, education, nutrition, rehabilitation and social security services. They wish to evolve HIV/AIDS friendly policies, schemes and programs to reduce victimization/stigmatization of women and children living with the disease.
The first lady who led the organisation’s registration passed away many years ago. The other seven founding members – Sunita Saini, Munesh Yadav, Sangeeta Sharma, Sakera, Bimla Kumawat, Shanti and Santosh – are still part of the organisation; they collectively make up the executive board today. They all hail from poor backgrounds with low educational levels.
Sunita Saini is the current president; she has personally seen the death and discrimination of women and children living with HIV. This motivated her to dedicate her life working for orphaned and HIV infected children in order to improve their quality of life.