By B S MANU RAO
Come Sunday, it will be a ray of hope for the needy patients at the government primary school at Kadugodi in Whitefield. Over 2,000 patients will converge on the school grounds where a medical camp is being organized by the alumni of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. It is a monthly event here for over 12 years. The camp has a team of doctors, a makeshift laboratory and a pharmacy . The treatment and medicines are distributed free of cost along with a mid-day meal.
“Inspired by Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings, this initiative was the brainchild of two former students – Dr B Raghavendra Prasad and Swagath Routray – who came up with the idea while waiting for a bus in 1995. We wanted to do something that would make a difference to society, and they came up with this idea” , recalls N V Shankar, an alumni actively involved with the camp since its inception. “Pretty soon a handful of like-minded alumni who shared this passion came together to launch the camp” , he smiles.
In the beginning, some boys went around distributing medicines free of cost in villages, with a doctor in tow. Today, it is an institution that is a beacon of hope to thousands from as far away as 75 km. Many with conditions such as diabetes and asthma depend entirely on this camp for sustenance. For those who need constant medication, medicines are given to last until the next month’s camp.
These camps are equally popular for their competence. Many doctors who come here are well-known and patients too come here seeking quality health care. There is a significant number of patients coming from districts around the city just to seek treatment from these doctors . Some even arrive the previous night and wait.
There is more to these camps than the medical treatment. “It gives us immense satisfaction to see the solace and relief on the faces of these needy patients. It makes us happy to put into practice what we’ve learnt at college, and we feel a sense of redemption for the free education we got. It is a great way to spend a Sunday” , says Dr B Raghavendra Prasad.
“These camps save bread-winners . This in turn saves the families from poverty. This is the larger ramification of our camps, and India needs many more such initiatives” , says Dr Sarath Kumar, another alumni member .
“Over two lakh patients have been treated at these camps over the last 12 years. We were delighted to watch tears of agony change into tears of joy. It has inspired us to do more” , says another member D Anil Kumar.
Former students of the Sai educational institutions at Muddenahalli , near the city, and Alike, near Mangalore, too have joined the effort . The sustained efforts of the alumni have inspired the local youth to volunteer. “At the end of the day, we hope more groups take the lead and start such camps. There are millions out there who need it” , says Dr S T Nityananda.
(This is a weekly column initiatives by the government, private enterprises or organizations that have had a far-reaching effect on the under-privileged . Tell us about any such programme at toib[email protected] timesgroup.com with ‘Sunshine Schemes’ in the subject line)
Held every month at govt school in Kadugodi
Free treatment, medicines, mid-day meals
Over 2 lakh patients treated over last 12 years
Contact: www.sssu.edu.in; [email protected] .org
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