05 March, 2021

Aid On Many Fronts

One organisation's three-decade-long fight against poverty and ignorance in Pune's slums

Aid On Many Fronts
Dr Prakash Bhandari is a doctor with a difference. He does not merely write out prescriptions. For nearly three decades, he has been running health care, educational and self-employment programmes in Pune slums through his organisation, the Snehdeep Jankalyan Foundation (SJF). "We help slum-dwellers improve their overall life, become self-dependent and join the mainstream," he says. His modest clinic near Kasewadi slums is a beacon of hope for many.

Inspired by his mother, Bhandari started treating Kasewadi residents in 1978 when he was only 25. He soon realised that patients steeped in poverty, squalor and superstition needed to be educated in hygiene as well as learn certain other basics if their lot was to be bettered.

Bhandari, who does his work without much publicity, started off by launching cleanliness campaigns. Subsequently, the French organisation Inter Aide funded his activities. Now, with additional help from other quarters, his team of devoted teachers, social workers and volunteers has provided free tuberculosis treatment to hundreds. To arrest...

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