Website Unites Couples with Special Needs
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13 September 2009
by Supriya Shelar
Are marriages really made in heaven? For some lonely and dejected people, marriages are made at vivah.aarogya.com, a special online matrimonial bureau for people suffering from epilepsy, cancer, HIV, disability and other special needs. The service, however, is fighting against social stigma and encouraging HIV positive women to come forward, as out of 42 HIV positive candidates, only two are women.
Launched on April 1 this year, the matrimonial service has been able to help fix eight matches so far. It’s an endeavour of aarogya.com, initiated by founder director of T–edge Solutions Private Limited Tushar Sampat and director (Operations) Anand Shinde.
“The individuals suffering from any disability or incurable disorder often feel lonely and lose confidence. With the esupport group of aarogya.com, the idea of vivah.aarogya.com emerged. It tries to assist these individuals in their quest for social acceptance,” said Yashoda Wakankar of the organisation.
The bureau charges no registration fee. Within six months, 175 candidates registered with the bureau. In case of other disabilities, the response is quite good, but when the question of HIV/AIDS arises, the number, especially of women, goes down. “For diseases like epilepsy, we conducted awareness programmes, resulting in 140 registrations with equal numbers of brides and grooms. But in case of HIV, only two women have registered against 40 positive men. It may be due to social stigma or shame or lack of awareness,” said Yashoda, adding that with awareness, the response would improve.
Currently candidates in the age group of 21 to 56 have registered at the bureau. Yashoda said, “It is difficult for persons with disability or certain diseases, particularly for girls and their parents to manage marriages and to be accepted by society. Sometimes, marriages occur by hiding diseases. At vivah.aarogya.com, we try to clear doubts and prejudices. We emphasise that irrespective of physical beauty or disability, everyone has the right to marry.”
The counsellors talk to the individuals about acceptance of the situation and choosing the right partner. They change the tendency of looking for a “Normal” partner, despite being disabled or affected themselves. The organisation makes the candidates internet savvy too.