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Sourav, Avishek spend time with HIV+ kids

23rd November 2019
Eden Gardens is witness to many firsts. So it's not a surprise that it had its first ever food stall put up and run by HIV+ kids. And today Indian cricket gave a positive message to break stereotypes when BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and CAB Secretary Avishek Dalmiya went to have a cup of tea there.
An initiative titled Cafe Positive is an effort initiated by OFFER and the cause has been taken up by CAB. Such initiatives are present only in two other cities in the world -- Toronto and Munich. Both Sourav and Avishek spent around 10 minutes at the stall having a cup of tea each and talking to the kids and the care givers.
Talking about the initiative, Avishek said: "Cricket stands for unity, brotherhood and humanity. The initiative has been jointly taken by OFFER and CAB. We also had 40 HIV+ kids walk out with the players yesterday ahead of the match to sing the national anthem. Yesterday was a momentous occasion and we wanted to make it special.Today we came here to encourage the kids and let them know they are accepted in the mainstream."
Kallol Ghosh, Secretary, OFFFER, said: "Everyday these kids are facing Antiretroviral Therapy and fighting T-Cell count, social stigma, discrimination, isolation at school and misconceptions. So for them to walk out with the elite cricketers of the world is a life altering moment. And today when Mr Sourav Ganguly and Mr Avishek Dalmiya came they gave out a loud message to the world in their favour. We are truly indebted to the duo."
In addition breast cancer patients were also felicitated yesterday. CAB and Global Cancer Trust made a unique attempt to bring smiles to breast cancer survivors. 20 breast cancer survivors who have valiantly battled and endured this disease were felicitated by BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and CAB Secretary Avishek Dalmiya. Living legends Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, VVS Laxman and the first Bangladesh team which played Test against India, were present during the occasion.
When the first Asian Test Championship happened in 1999, CAB had taken a lot of social endeavours including initiatives to eradicate blindness. "The idea of raising awareness about eye donation was to give a chance to as many visually challenged kids as possible a chance to see this beautiful world and this wonderful game. The efforts continue," Avishek said.

Arindam Basu