Year the initative began (yyyy)
1985, Inspired by Swami Chinmayanandaji, one of the greatest Vedantic teachers of our time, Chinmaya Rural Primary Health Care and Training Centre (CRPHC&TC) was set up in Sidhbari, District Kangra in Himachal Pradesh in 1985 under the aegis of Chinmaya Tapovan Trust (renamed CORD, Sidhbari in June 2005).
We began with an isolated health programme in 1985 where we trained community health nurses and workers and Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) and focused on maternal and child health. Poor women in the villages made it very clear to us that the lack of health services was only one of many issues that kept them in a vicious cycle of ill health. Women in this region were dealing with many social, economic and educational issues in the midst of their poverty and ill health, low self image, but had no platform to address them. Because of this, we began forming women’s groups to give them a discussion forum to address the issues that affected their lives. Looking at the immense strength and tolerance behind the images of desperation that we saw in villages, we become aware of their potential. With their active involvement in programme designs, we mobilized them to form Self-Help Groups in order to access bank credit, hold elections for self governance, participate in political processes and meet regularly for discussions. Their involvement allowed them to assess and analyze their situation and implement changes with our facilitation. The success of the women groups led to demand-driven groups in other villages, which in turn mobilized and demanded us to rope in their children in the youth group (started in 1999) and adolescent girl groups (started in 1988). Besides more than 220 youth groups and 560 Mahila Mandals (Women’s Group), CORD focuses on other specific aspects of rural life which include Health, OPD, Literacy Skills, Education, Community Based Livelihood, Social Justice, Informal Legal Advice, Community Based Rehabilitation, sanitation and alcohol abuse issues.
These forums have taught our team a number of things one being that the lives of the marginalized rural population are affected by multiple factors that consistently and persistently drive them into a whirlpool of different pressures which work together to pull them down.
Hence, it is important to approach and view these issues in an integrated way. Through our experiences in over 550 villages, we have become well versed and knowledgeable about the complexities of these issues and the numerous gaps that still exist. This is our unique initiative at the grass root which we have started replicating in other parts of the country to benefit many more people.
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