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«Published Annually Vol. 6, No. 1 ISBN 978-0-979-7593-3-8 CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS Sawyer School of Business, Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts ...»

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Founded in 2005, the helpline has attended to 85,000 calls till 30 September 2011. (Muktaa Charitable Foundation, 2011) The number of calls fell in the year 2010-2011 from 2009-2010 because the helpline had to discontinue using the previous number and couldn’t inform people about the change of number. The callers have been steadily increasing. (Refer to Figure – 4)

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Around 53% of the callers are from 25 – 40 years of age and 44% from 15 – 25 years of age. (Muktaa Charitable Foundation, 2011) (Refer to figure – 5) Youngsters and middle-aged people are using the helpline and benefitting from it. Now they have someone to speak to confidentially about their problems and concerns relating to AIDS.

Majority of the callers are graduates (Refer to figure – 6). This is an indication that the educated people take an advantage of this AIDS helpline. However, the helpline needs to reach to the illiterate and poor masses as well. More publicity will help in achieving this.

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Conference papers © Knowledge Globalization Institute, Pune, India, 2012 Majority of the questions from the callers are for the risk of transmission of HIV from a sexual partner or from mother to child, testing for HIV, and prevention of AIDS (Refer to figure – 7).

Some of the questions are as follows:

 My daughter is getting married soon. How do I broach the topic of HIV testing to the boy’s side?

 I am software professional. I am worried about being HIV positive from a previous exposure. Can I start a family?

 My son-in-law died of AIDS. My daughter got HIV from him. Her in-laws want to throw her out of the house. Help!

(Muktaa Charitable Foundation, 2011)

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Conference papers © Knowledge Globalization Institute, Pune, India, 2012 (Muktaa Charitable Foundation, 2011) According to the counselors of Samvad, they have dealt with the trauma of the callers efficiently by being patient, respectful, caring, and knowledgeable. These counselors typically have a psychology and social work educational background. The trauma faced by callers are with regards to acceptance of HIV infection by self, then by immediate family (parents, spouse, children), then by workplace, then by society including friends and relatives. They also need help to deal with health-related problems and how to arrange for finances to take care of self and dependants if the infected person has been divorced by the earning spouse or shunned by parents.

Samvad counselors have changed lives of innumerable people over a short-term or a long-term basis. They have a caller who has been in touch with Samvad since five years and they have been able to be the faceless voice to make him settled in his/her life.

Problems that Samvad can solve effectively:

 Behavior modification of high-risk callers by giving them tips on how to prevent AIDS  Lifestyle modification of AIDS patients by tips on nutrition and hygiene  Fear reduction by providing a doorway to testing laboratories, treatment centers, and rationalizing and clearing confusion.

 More importantly, Samvad rules out the callers’ lonely battle against HIV and AIDS

Samvad’s aims for the future include:

 Start a face-to-face counseling centre.

 Tie up with government ART centers to help improve ART adherence rates of their patients.

 Expand helpline services to Ahmadabad in the state of Gujarat and Calcutta in the state of West Bengal.

 Preparing to move the Bihar helpline to Patna.

 Professionalize the helpline at the managerial level.

 Work on psychological health and disclosure issues in HIV infected and affected children.

 Work on health and finances related issues of migrants in Pune.

The highlights for the 2012 financial plans include:

 Major thrust on rural promotion  Use of paid sms campaigns for building call traffic  Continuing thrust to improving call quality  Continuing focus on increasing average call duration  Experiments to measure service effectiveness  Creation of Body of Knowledge for an HIV Tele-counseling service Challenges faced by Samvad  Inadequate funds for promotion  97% of the callers are male; the helpline wants to serve women as they would carry additional burden of being the oppressed gender in India compared to their male counterparts.

 It is not supported by government funds, as the government does not recognize the concept of HIV and AIDS helpline  The helpline also wants to help the uneducated and poor people needs to increase Operational functioning of Samvad The founders include doctors, software engineers, and businessmen. Doctors give the medical counseling training to the counselors, software engineers have developed the software for Samvad, and businessmen take care of the administration and legal work.

Samvad is available on all seven days of the week. It is available for 11 hours on weekdays and eight hours on Sunday.

However, every counselor’s shift comprises of eight hours and 20 calls per day. The number of calls is restricted so that quality Conference papers © Knowledge Globalization Institute, Pune, India, 2012 is ensured for every call. The helpline hires 10 paid counselors and one volunteer currently. The counselors are carefully selected. The eligible candidates should have MA in Psychology, Masters in Social Work, prior work experience in NGOs fighting against HIV, and strongly feel about eradication of HIV and AIDS. They are given a rigorous training on joining which includes 80 to 100 hours of theory training, three to four months of mock-call practice through discussion with the expert senior counselors and trainers. The theory training gives the counselors technical training, medical knowledge and prepares them to help callers at an informational level. Then the mock call discussion prepares them to help the callers behaviorally.

As per the founders’ record, the attrition rate of the counselors is 50%. Hence, Samvad faces the challenge of maintaining expert senior counselors. The founders have come up with a new strategy to deal with this problem. They have divided the counselors in junior and senior counselors. When a junior counselor is not able to help the caller he/she passes on the call to the senior caller, who then calls the caller at a fixed time suitable to the caller. Call audit is done once a week. There is a discussion between junior and senior counselors. When the junior callers are able to handle all the caller queries themselves, the junior and senior callers division is cancelled.

For reaching out to more people, Samvad has installed a toll-free phone box at the Sassoon hospital’s ART center in Pune. This has resulted in an increase in calls by 18 to 20 in the morning, perhaps when the ART center is working. The helpline also wants to expand its toll-free phone box system in other ART centers including the one at YCM hospital in Pimpri and those in Kolhapur.


The case study of Samvad helpline of Muktaa Charitable Foundation points out that such counseling is helpful especially in India, where people do not want to talk openly about HIV – AIDS and where there is a social stigma surrounding AIDS.

Considering 85,000 calls attended to in the last six years, Samvad has made a difference 85,000 times in the lives of people.

Such helplines bridge the gap between the people and the services available (ART centers, testing laboratories, face–to-face counseling). In this way, they lead to a better utilization of the infrastructure for fighting AIDS, and thus help in reducing the social infrastructure deficit in health sector.

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Aggarwal, R. M., & Rous, J. (2006). Awareness and quality of knowledge among women in India. The Journal of Development Studies, 371-401.

Businessworld. (2011). Taking The Private RouteOn how India can bolster its GDP through infrastructure development.

Businessworld (Dated 22-08-2011).

Gupta, A. (1994, Dec 3 to 9). The indirect costs of AIDS. Employment News.

India GDP Growth Rate. (2011). (Trading Economics) Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://www.tradingeconomics.com:

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/india/gdp-growth Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). (2010). UNAIDS Report on the global AIDS epidemic. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO Library.

Kumar, V. (2011, April). Census 2011 puts India's population at 1.21 billion. The Hindu, p. Front Page.

Muktaa Charitable Foundation. (2011). Annual Report.

Muktaa Charitable Foundation. (2011, 9 30). Samvad HIV Aids Helpline. Retrieved 10 14, 2011, from http://www.mcf.org.in/MCF/about-us/ NACO. (2011). Annual Report 2010-11. NACO.

Conference papers © Knowledge Globalization Institute, Pune, India, 2012 NACO. (2007). National AIDS Control Organization, Department of AIDS Control. Retrieved 10 5, 2011, from www.nacoonline.org: http://www.nacoonline.org/Quick_Links/Connect/ NACO. (2011). Patients alive and on ART. India.

Salvi, G. (1995). Time bomb. Far Eastern Economic Review.

T.K., G. (1984 (1)). AIDS: a serious challenge to public health. Journal of the Indian Medical Association, 29-30.

UNAIDS. (2010). India. Retrieved 10 3, 2011, from www.unaids.org:

http://www.unaids.org/en/regionscountries/countries/india/ Swami Vivekananda, wrote extensively about ‘man-making education’. What we actually and desperately need today is the ‘making of a true human being’ who is not professionally knowledgeable and educationally equipped with a mass of information in the relevant domain, but who is also endowed with precious values which light us from within, the values of tolerance, of humanity, of ethics and of truth. These values alone can transform your knowledge you have garnered from theory into what we call ‘wisdom’. Let the knowledge be effectively transformed and matured into ripe wisdom which would definitely stand in good stead in your future life ahead.

When knowledge is genuinely transmuted into wisdom, it is called power in the true sense of the term. What should be the purpose of Education? The society expects that at least the raw, primitive and anti-social traits of the individual are refined, and where necessary, replaced by socially helpful qualities, by education.

The objective of education must be geared towards enhancing capabilities and enlarging choices and developing agency by building different dimensions of well-being, by building self-image and self worth which in turn help individuals to be less vulnerable to the variations within a given context. Educational content must therefore be reviewed to remove the stereotypes and age old norms that persist. Every aspect of education must then work towards fighting all types of poverty, including reducing vulnerability by building potential and increasing agency and well being of individuals and societies (katia, Radjaaand others).

In literacy programmes development programme are intergraded with the educational skills of reading and writing. Literacy is thus a part of life skill, and life skills and literacy are a part of basic education (Madhu Singh). Life skill Education should be taken as an approach by national government, NGOs, civil society, the private sector and UN agencies where illiteracy poses a vital challenge in achieving the goals set out in Education for All (EFA).

Meaning of Life skill

There are diverse understandings of Life Skills but no classification is universally established. The generic understanding of life skills from the dual angle of personal fulfillment and realization of social responsibility includes both empowerment and selffulfillment and the capacity to be a part of a heterogeneous group and strive for common goals. They can also imply success in personal and professional life. Seen from a social point of view they can mean cohesion, happiness, well being and good functioning of a group, as well as success in relating to others and living together. UNICEF has defined Life Skill as psychosocial and interpersonal skills that are generally considered important. It is the interrelations between the skills that produce powerful behavioral outcomes, especially where this approach is supported by other strategies such as media, policies and health services (UNICEF).

The Mental Health Promotion and Policy (MHP) team in World Health Organization’s (WHO) Department of Mental Health has produced the definition of Life Skill Education as to facilitate the practice and reinforcement of psychosocial skills in the culturally and developmentally appropriate way; it contributes to the promotion of personal and social development, the prevention of health and social problems, and the protection of human rights.

The aim behind introducing life skill in schools is to capture the true essence of adolescence. The circular issues by CBSE states “Adolescence is a time of immense creative energy, self-discovery and a desire to explore the world. Children can be taught with feeling of isolation, loneliness and confusion. Lessons in life skills help in the holistic development of children and its significance cannot be ignored” (express News Service, 2008). Ministry of Human Resource Development in India adopted the concept of Life Skill Education as the focus of all educational programmes and processes. The government follows an integrated approach to literacy. Literacy programs would continue to run in those areas where there are large pools of residual illiteracy.

At the same time for those who crossed the basic learning phase, programmes of consolidation, remediation, vocational skills, integration with life skills would be considered the basic unit (Life Skill in Non-Formal Education: A Review by Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESO, 2001). The programs mainly include:i) Decision-making and problem solving- to be fostered by debates where individual difference can emerge and can be defended by logical arguments.

(ii) Coping with emotions and stress.

(iii) Effective communication and interpersonal relation.

(iv) Help them in handling adult responsibilities without failure and stress.

(v) Making them the strength or their communities.

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