The works with Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV) and their families commenced in 2003 were continued and strengthened over the years and the PLHIV networks have become a real success story. To be more relevant to the current situation, the initial days concentrated more on prevention of HIV, identification and counselling PLHIV and enabling them to accept themselves.
When Malteser International supported the initiatives in 2007, the networking process was initiated. With nearly 600 PLHIV organized into 54 support groups and federated at the district level as NELLAI SUTRAM, the network not only caters the needs of their members but also supports the development of underprivileged adolescents in the district. Nelali Sutram, the district level federation was formally registered in 2009 and has been functioning and strengthened year by year.
- With the active role played by NS, the knowledge and skills of PLHIV to access treatment has improved and more PLHIV were empowered to be positive speakers.
- Good structural co-ordination, elected leadership, strong financial base, active participation of members and recognition of different stakeholders are hallmarks of Nellai Sutram.
- The Executive Committee regularly meets and conducts regular business and the General Body meets once in a year to take policy decisions and ensure legal compliances.
- Nellai Sutram has become a self-reliant entity, though at times the project extends technical guidance and support for their future development. For the past five years they are able to raise the resources required to manage their network, without any financial support from the project or NGOs.
Nellai Sutram has become a model to the community based organisations and an inspiring force in Tirunelveli District.