Born in Sangli district to a Maharashtrian family, Dr Suhrid Tembe moved to Jamnagar (Gujarat). Dr Tembe did his schooling at St Xaviers and completed his medical studies in MP Shah Medical College (Jamnagar). He worked as assistant professor of general surgery at Irwin Hospital (Jamnagar). A superb surgeon, the soft-spoken Suhrid Tambe devoted his life to helping poor and suffering patients, often working without food, rest or concern for his own health. When he died in 1993 at the young age of 32, his friends and family, decided to set up Suhrid Foundation in his name, to carry forward the work that he was passionate about.
The Foundation started with intention of providing support to underprivileged children in the field of healthcare. Healthcare support is the first interaction of Suhrid Foundation in any area that it works. It starts with a medical survey of the region, mainly through a medical camp; follow-up camps are organised for subsequent procedures such as investigative tests or operations that may be required for some patients. Local leaders (such as the sarpanch or the police patil) and school teachers from the region play a key role in organising such camps by way of logistics support and coordination. Over time, it hopes to have its own primary healthcare centre that can provide sustainable support the community. Apart from medical camps, Suhrid Foundation aims to provide advance medical support, cancer support, nutritional support, Suvarna Prashan (an Ayurvedic form of immunisation for children under the age of 6 years).
The Mumbai chapter of the Foundation was launched in August 2012 at Vikramgad, a tribal area around 120km from Mumbai. Several medical camps were organised to understand the background, culture, health-related challenges, food habits and availability of healthcare.
The Foundation has covered schools around Vikramgad area making them an attractive place for kids by providing holistic support (beyond health) such as education, sports, infrastructure, personal grooming, hygiene, etc. The approach is to make each school self-sufficient for the basic needs and then involve parents, once it gets positive results, for subsequent improvements in health and hygiene.
Suhrid’s work is not restricted to children. The Foundation has conducted eight full-scale medical camps since October 2012; its actual work includes general health and eye check-up camps and special camps for kids with the support of schools. It has distributed more than 200 spectacles, conducted cataract operations, administered tetanus injections where required got over 800 blood investigations for children in the past three years.
Another concern for Suhrid is undernourishment among school children. Although students get mid-day meals comprising rice, dal and matki from the government, the meal does not meet the vitamin, protein and mineral needs of students. Hence, Suhrid launched the SUN project, in March 2013, which provides a dietician-defined menu to several schools. In the first phase, it added locally available vegetables, jaggery, etc. There were immediate results in terms of better attendance and more consumption. Teachers track the impact on children through daily and monthly reports that include checking on height and weight, daily menu and the cost incurred.
Suhrid has also been working on infrastructure support for schools. Important infrastructure-related challenges include availability of gates, compound wall, minor repairs of the walls, bore-wells, motors, etc. Good infrastructure motivates parents to send their children to school. Schools are graded, based on the infrastructure. If the schools score well, they may get permission to start higher classes helping reduce school dropouts.
In 2016, Suhrid Foundation expanded its community support by starting a drinking water project, increasing employability of youth and women to increase household income and building check-dams on rivers or seasonal streams to recharge groundwater.
Suhrid Foundation is registered under Section 12AA of Income Tax Act, 1961. You can get involved in its work or make a donation which is eligible for tax exemption under Section 80G of I-T Act.
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