Shanker Mani Rai, Co-Founder
Shanker, was a driver and at the time he was an injecting drug (I.D.) user. When his parents learned of his addiction, he was kicked out of the house. He lived on the streets and slept in his car. After some time, his parents were unhappy with him living on the streets, gave him another chance and sent him to rehab in 2002. He stayed in for 6 months.
While in rehab Shanker found out he was HIV positive. When he told his wife, she left him. Their daughter who is now staying with her grandmother in Darjeeling is not HIV positive.
After Shanker's rehab and recovery, he started meeting many others who were also HIV positive. He befriended them and started to help them. People living with HIV/AIDS where facing several issues due to ignorance of the disease in this mountainous region of India. There is a lot of fear and stigma of those who are infected and/or sick. Even the medical community is often afraid to treat people with HIV/AIDS.