Vikas Goel and his family noticed that many domestic helps, drivers, security guards, etc, in their locality did not have access to medical care. Whenever they, or their family members, fell sick, they would either avoid going to the doctor or end up visiting some expensive quack. Even if they were able to visit government dispensaries, the prices of medicines were prohibitive; so they came away empty-handed or spent a lot of time getting treatment.
With this, grew the seed of an idea—a clinic catering to the underserved—free consultation and medicines for common ailments. Vikas Goel, his wife Seema and father-in-law Surinder, decided to let their actions speak. This non-government organisation (NGO) was, as they say, a token of gratitude to the society we live in. And it is still in its formative stage.
Sukrt is a Sanskrit word that means good or righteous deed. It summarises the philosophy of this NGO. Sukrta Foundation was set up as a trust in 2014 at Powai (Mumbai) with the mission to support educational, medical and other needs of people growing up in poverty and to motivate people to do good.
Sukrta Foundation currently runs a free medical clinic in Raheja Vihar, Powai. Since April 2015, the free two-hour weekly medical clinic every Thursday has been gaining popularity. A qualified general physician provides free consultation to patients and dispenses free medicines. So far, the clinic has provided over 60 days of free consultations and attended to over 2,500 patients.
Every week, some 30-40 patients, staying in and around Powai, queue up to see the doctor. These include people who have been ignoring ailments for long due to lack of money; others are on a repeat visit as their health has improved. There are security guards, who take off from work to consult doctors, and there are house-maids who come with their sick kids.
The founders are also piloting a ‘housing society social responsibility’ programme on the lines of CSR (corporate social responsibility). They are working with housing societies to assist them in conducting in-house clinics so that they can help the local maids, drivers and guards. The Sukrta model hopes to be a catalyst for what housing societies and small groups can achieve.
Slowly, Sukrta’s list of well-wishers is growing with people coming forward with monetary donations or spending time and energy to design campaigns, build a website, manage the visitors to the clinic, etc. But much more is needed to help the organisation grow. Even today, most of the money comes from its founders. Promoting its work on social media, like Twitter and FaceBook and email, is beginning to help.
For readers who share the philosophy of Sukrta and want to extend a helping hand, here are a few things you can do. You can be like Raj Kumar Modi, a retired businessman, and help organise camps, fund-raising and creating awareness; or be like Rahul Kulkarni, who helped design a terrific fund-raising campaign, help spread the word, organise patients or simply write a cheque. Sukrta keeps administration costs to the minimum. The dispensary itself is run by a qualified doctor while the Foundation acts as a sponsor. The cost per patient works out to around Rs75 of which doctor’s fees account for 41% of the cost and medicines cost 34%. If you are a doctor, willing to volunteer time to run a dispensary or can spare the space for a couple of hours every week, do connect with Sukrta. They would love to hear from you.
Sukrta Foundation is registered as a public charitable trust with the charity commissioner of Mumbai. It has applied for approval under Section 80-G exemption from the income-tax department.
205-B, Lakeside, Raheja Vihar, Powai, Mumbai – 400072
Phone/ WhatsApp/ Text: +91 97697 78884