A chance at happinessChhakkali Lama was just 15 years old when a relative, on the pretext of providing a job, trafficked her to a brothel in India. She was forced to work as a prostitute for six years before the brothel owner sent her home after finding out that she had contracted HIV.
Chhakkali Lama was just 15 years old when a relative, on the pretext of providing a job, trafficked her to a brothel in India. She was forced to work as a prostitute for six years before the brothel owner sent her home after finding out that she had contracted HIV.
Upon returning home in Hetauda, Makwanpur, she met Shukra Lama and fell in love with him. A year into the relationship, they got married despite numerous attempts by Shukra’s family to stop their union.
It’s been two decades since Shukra and Chakkali got married. Today, they are living as any normal couple would and claimed that they have not had any marital spat till date.
“We got married knowing full well that we would not be having any children. Both of us are happy and healthy in our relationship,” said Chhakali.
Shukra added, “The disease does not define my wife. I am happy and proud to be her husband.”
Chhakkali, who is receiving antiretroviral treatment, is doing alright. She does not have any threatening health condition.
Kamala Subedi of Makwanpur Women Group said the Lama couple is an example that HIV patients can also lead a fulfilling and happy life with their partner.
“It is apparent that HIV/AIDS patients can live a healthy and happy life if they are provided love, affection and encouragement,” said Subedi.
Shukra works as a carpenter to support the family while Chakkali runs a small shop at her home and also works as a seamstress.
The Lama couple said that various organisations and individuals frequently come to meet them. A documentary
was made about their life a few years ago. They said the organisation that made the documentary also offered them Rs 100,000, which they used to build their home.
According to the government records, there are 257 HIV infected people including 86 women and 21 children in Makwanpur. Chhakkali is the oldest known HIV/AIDS patient in the district.