A chance meeting at HardyGroup International booth at APAC Forum 2015 in Auckland and follow up conversation by phone after the Forum was the catalyst for an international collaboration in mobilising a community and other stakeholders in ways that would empower everyone.
Following his presentation, I caught up with Forum guest presenter, Professor Anupum Sibal, Group Medical Director of Apollo Hospitals, from India. It was that conversation and the phone call a month later that led to a significant and worthwhile outcome for so many young children that attend the Anganwadis (Kindergartens) in several slums in Ahmedabad.
For the past two years I have travelled to India to assist the work of Manav Sadhna, a not for profit organisation based in Mahatma Gandhi’s Ashram that exists to serve the underprivileged (read my previous article here). Manav Sadhna engages in constructive humanitarian projects that address issues faced by socio–economically neglected and disadvantaged parts of the Indian society.
In the months leading to my departure many people helped by donating clothing, toys, money and providing encouragement. However, it was my conversation with Professor Anupum Sibal when I called to arrange a visit to the Appollo Group, that ultimately led to mobilising a group of three doctors, a co-ordinator and a nurse whose time and skills were provided over several days as we led the project to vaccinate children at the Anganwadis against typhoid. It was a learning curve in collaboration across borders, bureaucracy, government regulation and how companies such as HGI and Appollo can make a difference around the world through living their vision and values and supporting staff to engage in making a personal and positive impact in society.
In the slums around Ahmedabad, typhoid is still a major health risk, especially for young children who don’t have immunity to fight the bacteria. With the help of Apollo Hospital and HGI and also supported by Manav Sadhna we were able to successfully vaccinate over 220 children from the ages of 2-6. The contribution made by the Apollo team headed by Dr Vipal and his colleagues was extraordinary. They continually worked with a smile, good humour and professionalism under conditions that were frequently taxing. Their contribution was critical to the success of this project. Making progress in developing countries is a challenging task however, working in partnerships can deliver enhanced results in efforts to shape and change a society for the better.