Feature story

Providing community care in India

28 February 2008

20080303_sewa3_200.jpg
While in India Executive Director Dr Peter
Piot visited Sewa Ashram—a centre that
provides essential healthcare, support and
vocational training.

While in India Executive Director Dr Peter Piot visited Sewa Ashram—a centre that provides essential healthcare, support and vocational training.

In 1996 while driving through one night in Delhi, Ton Snellaert saw a man lying in the street. Driving on he saw hundreds more people sleeping by the roadside. The experience motivated him to set up a centre in one of Delhi’s northern suburbs and a year later the ‘Delhi House’ opened. In its first year, the small 12 room centre welcomed 45 people with care and support. Since then more than 3,000 have come through its doors and it is now better known as ‘Sewa Ashram’. Sewa is a Hindi word which means 'the practice of selfless service' and ashram means 'spiritual community'.

The clinic, staffed by three nurses and a medical doctor, offers free medical care and confidential TB and HIV counselling and testing. The centre has continued to grow and now offers TB treatment, a children’s education programme and vocational training.

20080303_sewa_200.jpg
The clinic, staffed by three nurses and a
medical doctor, offers free medical care
and confidential TB and HIV counselling
and testing.

The Ashram has attracted volunteers from all over the world, brought together by the same passion for service. One of the volunteers is Kaye Kirsch who currently manages the Ashram. “Our community is based on compassion and focuses on restoring dignity while giving love and good healthcare to those that need it the most,” says Kaye Kirsch. “Many of our staff came through the doors in need of help and have chosen to stay at the centre and help others,” she adds.

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Related links:

Sewa Ashram website