Spare a Thought – Part II

Sanmitra Association, Borivli had organised a free medical camp, for Shri Pandurang Narayan Kore Marathi Madhyamik Vidyalaya, Urse – an ashram school near Dahanu on 1st Dec 2013. My wife Dr.Sangeeta Lotlikar, had volunteered with this trust since its earlier camps. I requested the trust members to allow me to take part in the team for this camp.

About Sanmitra Association

Students of the 1975 old SSC Batch of Gokhale Education Society, Borivali High school have formed and registered an association Namely, Sanmitra Association, Borivali, a Charitable trust formed for amongst other objectives to help the children who because of paucity of funds are unable to continue their basic education or people who are unable to continue their treatment for serious disease because of paucity of funds.

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Dr.Sangeeta, while checking one of the student

Unlike our earlier camp near Pen (Spare a Thought), this one was quiet well organized. Sanmitra association members had already contacted the school. They already had ample of information regarding the school, the number of students and their specific needs.

The Camp

The High School which we had visited, was run by a trust for poor children, free of cost.  There were around 150 boys and 25 girls, almost all the boys had come from far off places like Jawhar, Wada and VikramGad etc. The trust provides the students with free accommodation facility, food, clothing and books. But it finds it difficult to meet expenses for such a large number of children. The Head Master told us that children usually get two meals per day i.e. one in the morning at 10:00 and the other at 6:00 in the evening. But there are few days when the trust cannot even afford these two meals and the children have to sleep with their stomachs empty. Despite so many challenges the school has managed to maintain a passing percentage of 70% in 10th Std. The 2013 topper from the school was a girl with 76% in SSC. With the resources they have, achieving such kind of result is a remarkable feet.

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Dr.Mhatre, advising girls based on their examination

Sanmitra has been associated with the school for quite some time. Prior to the camp, they had provided other means to school like cupboards and tables etc. Since the school is in rural area where primary health checkup facility is scarcely available, this time Sanmitra had decided to hold a medical camp for them. The camp was to be held in the school itself. Apart from my wife, Sanmitra had requested two more physicians and an eye specialist for the camp. As part of the camp, each students weight, height, eye sight was noted and they were thoroughly checked for any medical discrepancy. It was observed that a very high percentage of the students were underweight, and many of them were suffering from basic skin diseases occurring mostly due to bad hygienic condition.

Dr.Sangeeta, while checking one of the student

Sanmitra members guiding the students for maintaining hygiene in the surrounding

The students were given tonics and other necessary medications wherever required. They were later advised how they can maintain good hygiene in their surrounding even with the minimum resources they have. Since the school had sufficient water due to a nearby stream, they were told to wash their bed sheets and cloths more frequently etc.

Well, the camp was conducted very well. It gave us immense satisfaction. In  a sense, we had contributed our bit for the betterment of our society. As for Sanmitra, They are doing a wonderful job for young children in search of knowledge. As Swami Vivekananda once said –

Next to spiritual help comes intellectual help. The gift of knowledge is a far higher gift than that of food and clothes; it is even higher than giving life to a man, because the real life of man consists of knowledge.