Dr Manorama was a paediatric gastroenterologist, working as an assistant professor at the Institute of Child Health in Chennai. In 1993, she came across two children -- Krishnaveni and Ravi, who were abandoned by an orphanage after they tested positive for HIV.
The doctor decided to shift them from the hospital to her nursing home. Thanks to her care, both became normal (clear of opportunistic infections) in six months.
Dr Manorama then realised children afflicted with the HIV virus could get better with proper care.
Thus, CHES was born. It is the only home for HIV infected children in Chennai.
Now, if a child is tested positive, it is immediately sent to CHES.
Some live long, some die early.
CHES was conceived as a long-term care centre. But now, Dr Manorama stresses that care by a family is far more important for these children than institutionalised care. And, hence, the ashram has become a short-term care centre.