Weʼre raising £50,000 to repair a Medical Hospital in Tribal Odisha in India
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Doctors working in tribal Odisha need your help to repair their hospital
This is an appeal to help repair and upgrade a hospital called “Asha Kiran” in one of the neediest corners of the world.
What is Asha Kiran?
The name “Asha Kiran” means “A Ray of Hope”.
It is a solitary institution established in 1991 by three doctor couples from Vellore and three nurses in the middle of one of the most neglected territories of one of the poorest states of India – inhabited by tribal people and other marginalised communities .. They are a fascinating, ancient, animistic culture on the verge of destruction further alienated by neglect by the mainstream population.
This highly marginalized part of the human race has some of the most alarming conditions in the world:
• 85% of the populations are below the poverty line earning less than £1.4 per day
• 1 out of every 20 infants born does not survive its first year of life
• Female literacy rates in the district are quoted as 38% but there are areas where only 2% of the women can read
• They have little or no access to electricity yet – even with attempts at rural electrification
• They have minimal access to medical care.
• The population of some of the tribes has dwindled to near extinction with loss of tribal culture and languages.
Even for a poor state in a developing country– this level of neglect and poverty is exceptional. Development seems to have completely passed them by. Probably because they are very isolated.
Any intervention for a tribal population has to be a holistic approach that goes out into the community to be accepted and have an impact.
Asha Kiran provides the only source of modern medical care to a population of over 1.5 million tribals spread over a huge forested area covering more than 13000 square kms (Koraput and Malkangiri districts). It also runs 18 education centres in local languages – the only “schools” the tribal children have access to where they can study in a language they comprehend.
Drs Shobha and Ravi George
Dr. Ravi George (MBBS, DNB Family Medicine, MRCS General Surgery) and Dr. Shobha George (MBBS, DCH, MRCPCH) trained and worked in Essex and Swansea. They had their son, Nikhil, here and both had promising careers.
In 2003, the young couple travelled to rural hospitals across India to learn about their work and find out where there is the greatest need for doctors to work in such difficult low-resource settings. They were deeply moved by the plight of these tribals and the struggles of the doctors who had been working to establish this centre of support for these helpless, shy, endangered people. It shook them to the core.
After a lot of introspection, they came back home to Swansea, resigned their jobs, wound up their home and took their 4 years old son to the middle of a mosquito infested forested area with poor roads, erratic electricity and no school - to serve the desperately destitute tribal people. For a young urban couple and parents of a little boy raised here, it took a massive amount of courage and faith.
They have been there for over 12 years. They have, between them, personally survived cancer, chemotherapy, tuberculosis, malaria, pleurisy, rabid dog bite, floods and numerous other challenges over these years and persisted in their commitment to dedicate their lives and their training to saving this disadvantaged population.
They have a slowly expanding team of 150 staff now, which includes doctors, nurses, educators and social workers.
Medical care: With determined effort of the doctors and volunteers and help from donors the institute has grown from a tent, and then a tin roof shack to a 30 –bedded hospital. They have had times with patients and carers on the floor when the capacity is just not enough
Apart from the thousands of patients who trek through forests to the hospital for life-saving measures, the team goes out into the hamlets and villages across rivers and jungles to deliver vaccination to children, ante-natal care to expectant mothers, emergency care to injured or seriously ill patients, or even home deliveries for pregnant women who couldn’t make it to the hospital. They are the only health care providers who have won the trust of the most reclusive Bonda tribe, and the only institutional help these people seek.
They treat more than 40000 patients in a year on average.
Education: The state and national government has not invested in any schools or educational institutes in the region because the hamlets and tiny villages of 20-50 families are so small and widely scattered, that it is not cost efficient to provide accessible schools near their homes. Their only solution is to take away school age boys and girls to centralized residential hostels away from their homes. The government hostels are very poorly managed and not safe. These children lose their culture and language and end up as misfits in their own society. It is not a popular or even feasible option for most families and forces them to stay disadvantaged.
Asha Kiran has set up 18 education centres in the villages to educate boys and girls in their own cultural setting and in their local language. Almost 800 children benefit from this initiative every year.
Asha Kiran has also set up the Asha Kiran Academy – an English Medium School, to give quality education for tribal children.
How will your contribution help?
This is the life’s work of a team of courageous, dedicated professionals in a very challenging setting with very little support. The institution is facing several urgent needs. To name a few:
1. The Hospital building was built economically with limited resources. It has been under use for 26 years The increasing services and ever-increasing patient load has resulted in a space crunch, requiring expansion of the hospital buildings and wards.
2. There is a desperate need for several pieces of life-saving equipment that need repair or replacement.
a. ICU needs to be set up – ventilators, monitors
b. OT needs to be refurbished with anaesthesia machines, monitors etc – as increasingly complicated cases come to the hospital
c. one anaesthesia cart with half its equipment now irreparably broken
3. Diagnostic facilities need to be increased
4. The education centres have very poor infrastructure; the buildings are very basic and in need of repair; children sit on the bare floor in the extreme temperatures with no fans or heaters.
5. They need stationery and educational equipment
6. Some deserving candidates require support for higher studies in towns as they outgrow the educational capacity of AKS.
Our goal is to raise £50000 by Christmas to repair and extend the OPD structure so that the patients coming from miles on foot can have a clean, safe place to sit and be examined even in the extremes of weather conditions typical of this area. The total cost estimate for the entire OPD construction project is a much higher amount as it involves getting material across difficult terrain to a remote area. This £25,000 will start them off on the following:
1. Renovation of the hospital
2. Breaking new ground for the hospital extension
3. Urgent replacement of equipment
We thank you for your support. No contribution is too small towards this goal.
If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information please visit their website - www.ashakiransociety.org
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Dec 8, 2018
Stephen and Daisy Nirmal
Nov 29, 2018
Wonderful work Shobha and Ravi George. It was a privilege to be able to listen to your talk at the CMC alumni in Coventry.
Nov 28, 2018
Madhumita Dandapani- Sriram
Nov 25, 2018
Kudos to the wonderful work done by the Asha Kiran team!
Nov 24, 2018
Nov 20, 2018
Thank you for this wonderful work.
Nov 20, 2018
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