Many of us would have a long-standing desire to visit Baba Amte’s Anandwan & Hemalkasa; here comes the chance to visit these projects with Unnayan
We are sure that you will get renewed inspiration after visiting and speaking with the zestful and affectionate people at Anandwan & Hemalkasa.
Anandwan is the place where Magsaysay Award winner Baba Amte has set up a charitable institute in 1951 for leprosy patients.
Baba Amte developed Anandwan to be a self-contained ashram. Residents here are self-sufficient in terms of basic subsistence through agriculture. Land fertility in the region has been revived and is maintained by using organic farming techniques and micro-water management. In addition, the ashram has various home-based, small-scale industry units run by the residents that generate income to cover additional requirements.
Anandwan today spreads over 200 hectares and has two hospitals, a university, an orphanage, a school for the blind and a technical wing. More than 5,000 people are dependent on it for their livelihood. The core belief at MSS (Maharogi Sewa Samiti - the organization behind Anandwan) has always been to give marginalized individuals a "Chance" and not just "Charity" by enabling them to engage in economically productive activities thereby regaining their lost sense of dignity.
At Anandwan everyone has a role to play. There are carpenters, barbers, cobblers, cooks, students, architects, doctors, engineers, psychologists. and all of them are part of an exquisite productive collage. It doesn't matter what the work is, it is an important part of the economic fabric. The older residents monitor the younger children and teach them values. Since almost all members of the commune are either leprosy patients or physically handicapped, appropriate tools and technology are developed to provide work to all members, irrespective of their handicap.
Lok Biradari Prakalp, Hemalkasa
When Baba Amte visited Hemalkasa in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra in 1973, he found the condition of the local tribe, The Madia Gonds, appalling. Malnutrition, malaria, tuberculosis and leprosy were rife. Illiteracy was total and medical care unheard of. There were hardly any roads worth mentioning. The area would remain cut off from civilization during the monsoons and their aftermath for about 6 months.
Although the conditions were daunting, Baba’s younger son Dr. Prakash, a surgeon and his wife Mandakini, an anesthetist volunteered to work among the Madias. In 1974, they constructed a small hut for themselves and a bigger hut for patients on an area of 50 acres given by the Maharashtra State Govt. in 1973. This was the beginning of their cottage hospital.
Over 1973-74, by learning the tribal language and by their compassionate behavior the doctor couple gained the confidence of the tribals and established a reputation for serving them.
Amte’s Animal Ark (Animal Orphanage)
When the tribals saw Prakash’s love for animals, they began bringing to him all orphaned, diseased and hurt animals as gifts, by way of gratitude towards their beloved doctor.
Today the list of animals at the LBP ‘Animal Orphanage’ is inexhaustible- leopards, barking deer, mouse deer, chameleons, Nilgai (blue Indian bull), otters, wild boars, hyenas, vipers, cobras, kraits, owls, eagles, civet cats, crocodiles and monkeys. The orphanage is the pride of the project and is a great sight for all those visiting the project.
Education at Hemalkasa
There is a Residential School for tribal children upto Class X, imparting formal & non-formal education & Junior college upto Class XII at Hemalkasa.