The success of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) across the globe, has allowed the ordinary citizen to take responsibility for the welfare of fellow human beings
The Magic TrainWorking in areas that most certainly need help, Impact India’s Lifeline Express and Community Health programme is being seen as a role model in many parts of the world.
“When I see the smile of a child who has had a cleft lip surgery, it is the best reward I can expect,” says Zelma. Sharing her journey of being sent by the Tata group (Voltas) to manage the project, she agrees that professional services and time are the best help a company or even an individual could offer. “From my side, I never lose hope and optimism, and I have been amply supported by all the team members.” I walk across to meet a couple of the team members, Olga Monteiro and Neelam Kshirsagar. Olga avers that working late and hard has never been an issue. Seeing the poor benefit has brought in tremendous rewards.
Jadu ki Gadi
Indeed, that is the way Impact India functions. So great are the benefits and the success of their projects that Impact India has been invited to extend consultancy services, for similar ventures in other countries of the developing world!
“The Magic Train” – Jadu ki Gadi as it is also known as, was launched on July 16, 1991, and so far over 500,000 Indians have benefitted from this amazing project. The Lifeline Express has miraculously brought medical service to thousands of poor and deprived people in India, and has helped them to regain their eyesight, their hearing, their very health, and all this entirely free of cost! This hospital on rails travels to remote parts of India with a medical team and other railway staff, who offer their services entirely free. The doctors and nurses are a committed lot, and work long hours to treat as many patients as possible.
The modus operandi of the Lifeline Express is as follows: It arrives at a particular railway station in a remote part of our country, and remains on the siding platform for a 30-day duration. The people in the surrounding villages are informed days in advance about the arrival of the Jadu ki Gadi through various means such as the town crier with his drum, distributing leaflets, and a megaphone on a cycle rickshaw. Those people who are suffering from disabilities and illnesses start converging, with family members in tow, to the train from all directions.
First they go through a check-up, where the doctors decide upon the kind of treatment each patient will need. Then the patients are given the treatment or an operation, depending upon their ailment. Arrangements are made for the patients and their families to stay overnight or even longer. Once the treatment or operation is completed, the patient gets follow-up medical treatment and advice, and is then allowed to return home.
The step ahead
The organisation is now working for the Community Health Initiative of the government in the tribal area of Thane district, and hopes to set a model that could be replicated all over. This was after all, a logical extension, as Impact India wished to leave a lasting imprint. “We are always open to people coming in,”says Nilima and avers, “When people ask, ‘Can I help,’ the answer is always yes.”
To know more about Impact India, visit: http://www.impactindia.org
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