Reclaiming Identity

Sufia Khatun

Location: Murshidabad

Most kids grow up with nicknames, but Sufia Khatun’s(name changed for privacy) journey was unique. Born with HIV, she didn’t have a nickname until sixth grade, when she disclosed her medical status to her best friend. “AIDS,” she said, recalling the hurtful names she was called.

Growing up in a children’s home, Sufia was always seen as different. Her disability defined her, and she lived in constant fear of what people would say. When her HIV status prevented her from attending college and pursuing her dreams, she knew something had to change.

Coming out as HIV-positive wasn’t easy for Sufia. It took six months to build trust and finally share her story. Hailing from rural Murshidabad, she barely remembered her parents, but her brother provided the support she needed.

Sufia realized that one small step could lead to a great impact. She joined the Anudip Association for Diversity and Inclusion’s Building Entrepreneurs to Stop Trafficking (BEST) program, embarking on a journey of restoration. Job skill training from Crowdsourced Task Contributors (CCTC) provided her with valuable knowledge and confidence.

Change was on the horizon. Sufia cleared her interview and secured the role of Data Transcriptionist at San Diego State University, a prestigious institution. “I’m still Sufia, living with HIV, but I’m the exact same person,” she affirmed.

Today, Sufia excels in Microsoft Word and Google search, earning approximately USD 51.90 monthly. She proudly declares, “I’m a woman living with HIV. It doesn’t define me, but it certainly helped redefine me.” Her colleagues in San Diego have shown her that no one can put a price on a life. Sufia’s journey is a testament to resilience and the power of self-belief.