The first reported case of AIDS in India was in Chennai in the state of Tamilnadu. Because the epidemic was advanced, large numbers of adult AIDS patients were registered and many were dying reminding the old plague of India. The result was a steep rise in the number of children orphaned by the disease. Pervasive fear and ignorance means health care workers are still loathe treating these children and orphanages will not take them in.
1993 – Two orphaned children a boy aged 2 and a half and a girl aged 4 were admitted at the Institute of Child Health and Hospital for Children, Chennai, where Dr.P.Manorama was working as the Assistant Professor of Pediatrics. They were admitted in the gastroenterology department for management of Hepatitis B Infection and HIV infection where Dr.P.Manorama was working. Dr.Manorama was able to observe the social scrooge while treating the two children. When planned to discharge the orphanage from where they came was hesitant to take the kids back in to their arms. Dr.Manorama decided to take the children with her. She was advised by a friend to start and register a NGO that could care the children. Thus Dr.Manorama who embraced these children started The Community Health and Education Society - CHES. CHES responded to this situation by providing care to AIDS orphans when no one else would and offered refuge and solace. Dr.Manorama registered CHES under the Tamilnadu societies Act with the support of her friends who were then associated with her private clinic that offered services to public.
Miss. K was aged 5 and Master. R was 3. Both the children were emotionally traumatized. Miss. K used to run amok at strangers while Master. R was appearing deaf and dumb. Miss. K had extensive bullous lesions all over her body while Master. R had parotitis. It took us almost 6months to bring back smiles on the faces of these 2 angels
The Shelter home was CHES's initial project and it started to cater to the needs of two AIDS orphans in 1994. It is governed by a 11-member board with more than 50% being women. It has been registered Under the Tamilnadu Societies Regulation Act, 1975. The organization has been registered under the Foreign Currency Regulation Act of India, has been registered under the Justice Juvenile Act by the Department of Social Defense, Government of Tamilnadu, as a special home to cater to the needs of AIDS orphans. CHES has lifetime Tax exemption.
CHES has large expertise of over two decades working with children. The organizations initial programs were health related mostly covering STI, HIV and AIDS. The NGO reached different kinds of beneficiaries such as from AIDS orphans to children living in families affected by AIDS, People Living with HIV and AIDS, Women In Prostitution, Children of Sex workers, Transgender and Homosexuals, grannies living with AIDS orphans, pregnant women and general public.
Since 2004, CHES expanded its work to a larger group of children from Child Rights and Protection perspective. started to plan for a larger work among children. This was the year of tsunami that had severe impact on people living in the coastal areas of Chennai, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Puducherry and Chidambaram. E As people ran for lost homes, boats and nets children were abandoned not understanding as to what had happened. CHES noticed that many of them were emotionally disturbed and hence the NGO started to provide psychosocial support to Tsunami affected children. CHES had new experience and was able to manage well with their working experience with children.