Scottish girls don’t mind turning heads

Pune, November 27 (Indian Express)  

Four teenage Scottish girls staying in Pune for the last three months have decided to to shave their heads. On December 8, lovely tresses and curly locks are all set to get snipped away “for a cause that is dear to their hearts.” Jennifer, Teri, Alison and Faith have vowed to shave their heads as a “personal sacrifice” to raise money for drugs for the HIV-affected people in Pune.

“There are several events taking place on World AIDS Day on December 1. Hence, we selected the date December 8,” says Faith Ross while looking at her blonde wavy hair in the mirror at the Deep Griha Society office located on Tadiwala Road.

Faith sighs sadly, but then perks up again when she talks about the cause for which they are shaving their heads. Faith is a student of Bristol University, England. She joined a charity called Link in Scotland. The charitable organisation sends volunteers to countries like India, China and Sri Lanka to work among people living with HIV and understand the issues in these countries.

Like Faith, 18-year-old Jennifer Wood, Teri Watson and Alison Ross are residents of Edinburgh, Scotland and they are in Pune working with Deep Griha Society – an independent organisation that has been working to better the lives of the persons living in the slums of Pune. Apart from Deep Griha Society, the girls also spend their time with HIV-affected persons providing comfort and cheer in their lives at Sahara Aalhad, another NGO at Wadgaonsheri.

What’s more, the fundraising website that has been created ttp:// has already raised more than Rs 1.6 lakh. But why headshaving ? “It was Jennifer’s idea,” the remaining three scream and burst out laughing. As for Jennifer whose mother has given her the green signal, it is her grandmother who has not been told about the headshaving. “I don’t want to face her wrath,” smiles the 18-year-old who loves to wear colourful bangles and nose-ring.

Faith however intervenes and says all of them espouse the cause and want to raise money for two charities working within the field of HIV/AIDS in a city where an estimated 1.8 per cent of the four million population is infected. Money that will be invested directly into services provided to the HIV+ clients of these charities. An example of where your money may go, says Faith, is an average of £ 16 per day will pay for general medication for opportunistic infections for the HIV+ patients at community centres serving two of the slums in Pune. These medicines are crucial for people living with HIV, maintaining the immune system, helping them remain healthy, thus reducing the risk of the virus developing into AIDS and allowing them to live productive lives.



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