ASHWINI (Association for Health Welfare in the Nilgiris) is a Charitable Organisation providing comprehensive health care for one of the most neglected sections of our society - the Adivasis. Gudalur Valley situated in the tri-junction of the three South Indian States of Tamilnadu, Kerala and Karnataka is the home of over 25000 Adivasis for many centuries. Five different tribes viz. Paniyas, Bettakurumbas, Mullukurumbas, Kattunaickens and Irulas were inhabiting this forested valley. Alienated from their own land by big Tea Estates, migrants from the plains and by Government authorities, these adivasis fought back by organising themselves into a strong political force. They were able to assert their political and social rights, to revive their cultural art forms and to join the mainstream society as equal partners with dignity. The political struggle is briefly outlined in the page AMS.
Equally remarkable is their quest for good quality health care. Started as a small community health programme primarily targeted at training tribal women on women and child care issues, the programme grew into ASHWINI, comprising of a 20 bedded hospital, 8 Sub-Centres and as an important institution owned and managed by the people themselves. The eventful history of our efforts so far is traced in the History, giving brief details of the activities during the last 10 years.
One of the highlights of ASHWINI's health programme is the innovative health insurance scheme. For the adivasis used to community living for ages, the health insurance scheme was the modern equivalent of sharing their risks and helping each other in the hour of crisis. Over ten years, this programme is being run by ASHWINI successfully, though not without problems. We are sharing our experience in running this insurance scheme, details of the composite package in the page Insurance Scheme. Besides, some more relevant statistics regarding the hospital and field activities, and audited financial reports are given in the Annual Reports and Newsletters section.
Our work can be understood in a proper perspective only with the knowledge of the social and cultural background of the Adivasi society in Gudalur. We have taken care to preserve the rich Adivasi Culture, even while introducing them to the benefits of modern medicine. So, a few selected photographs are given in the Photo Gallery in various headings - with special attention to their cultural life and setting of the adivasis.
And, the final section is You & Ashwini ! We have always grown with the suggestions, help and support of our friends, concerned individuals and organisations. Our main objective of creating this web site itself is to reach out to a wider audience and to keep in touch with all our friends on a regular basis. So, we invite you to join us in our efforts. How you can be part of our work, What you can do to ensure a better livelihood for the adivasis of Gudalur, How you can correspond with us ... Visit this page !
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