History of the Asha Kiran Society
WE HAD A DREAM.
Asha Kiran Society was started as a dream in the hearts of young men while they were doing medicine in their medical schools.
Asha Kiran Society was started as a dream in the hearts of young men while they were doing medicine in their medical schools. They dreamt that they could make a difference in the lives of poor people by meeting their health needs in the love of Christ and in the spirit of Christian service. To this end they were committed to starting a work in a remote and needy area which had limited or no medical facilities. The team consisted of three medical doctor couples including five doctors and a teacher.
They did a survey in the late eighties to single out a place where they could start medical work in the spirit of many Christian pioneers around the world through out the centuries. The survey brought out the place of Lamtaput, a small hamlet in a remote corner of one of the most backward areas in the country. The medical facilities were nonexistent, development was limited to few pockets and the overall health and socioeconomic status of the area was dismal.
From this dream was born the Asha Kiran Society. The hospital which
was started as a mud hut in Lamtaput village is now a 45 bedded
secondary level hospital which offers various specialities like medicine,
paediatrics, obstetrics and basic surgery.
The team, realizing the futility of limiting itself to just a curative health facility ventured out into community health in the realization that it is through education and building awareness in the community that most of the preventable diseases can be avoided. AKS now has a full fledged community health department working in 120 villages of the Lamtaput block. The backbone of the department were the 120 Community health workers, local women picked by their villages
and trained in basic health care. They were in turn supervised by 15
community development officers (CDOs).
Presently, with the advent of the NRHM programmes and the
government’s increased drive to improve health care facilities in rural
areas it is becoming clear to us in AKH that old models of parallel health
care systems need to be discarded where possible while at the same time we work hand-in-hand with the government and the people to ensure that the people most in need receive the health care required.
Our extensive knowledge of the people and this area developed over the last 20 years on the one hand (also the trust that people place in AKS) along with community staff workers experienced with coordinating with the government and disseminating training and information to the community on the other hands places AKS in a unique position just now. It is with pride that we note that a lot of our CHWs are being chosen as government ASHAs – a position they slip into with
ease due to the training they have received. Two peripheral nurse run
clinics have also been established in the more difficult to access areas.
In the year 2000 the team again realizing the need of addressing more
than health started involving in the development and social needs and
helped initiate groups comprising of young men, farmers, women at
the village level and health and development communities at the next tier – the Panchayat level. Agriculture is the main source of income for the tribal population but the farming practices followed by the people were archaic and primitive with the result that the land produced very less yield.
Analyzing this situation the Community Unit of the Society introduced farming practices that were suitable for the terrain of the land, organic methods for pest control and increasing the fertility of the soil. Livestock of better stock was accessed and introduced in the community. Since Soil Erosion was the bane of the farmer’s SALT (Sloping agriculture land technology) and afforestation was advocated and introduced in several villages where the Society has an active presence.
Supplementary education centres were started in 3 villages in to
augment the government education. These centres are run almost
entirely by the villagers now through their village education
committees. The graduates of our SECs are now pursuing higher
education in different parts of the state.
Based on the concept that children learn better in a language and a surrounding that is familiar to them, AKS has started 14 multilingual education centres in villages. The children begin learning in their own tribal languages and then are gradually bridged over to to the State language and English. This has proven to be a great success with minimal drop out rates and a higher interest in education among the villagers while still keeping small children at home and within their cultural boundaries.
We are grateful to God that all these have been possible and we are humbled to see the mighty hand of God work through us, jars of clay. Yet much needs to be done and we soldier forward knowing that the One who started this work will take it forward to the day of completion.