Sunday, September 4, 2011



Little knowledge is dangerous – it has been said by our ancestors and rightly so... only a little knowledge was given to every volunteer who arrives from various parts of India by the management. A little information about what constitutes Melghat Region by Chandrakant Jagdale and a little information about how to recognise symptoms of Pneumonia, fever and malnourished patients by Dr. Ajit Roy... and the Dr. Declares to all volunteers – ‘No degree is required to treat the patients now that you all are doctors. If anyone wishes to learn how to give injections, we will teach it. It is very easy and simple.’ The Orientation was over!

In mere 20 minutes, the half baked information is passed onto volunteers and then we were dispatched to various base camps... and left to serve the poor tribal villagers in four villages at our own peril. Many volunteers including me were shocked to see that there were no qualified doctors leading the batch of volunteers... I was told earlier that qualified doctors would be available in each batch. So the Group Leader of the previous batch trains the new batch of volunteers with his devotion and we serve the villagers from the next day.

The half knowledge and insufficient supply of medicines surely created a lot of problems in the villages, which every volunteer faced during their stay... non-availability of dettol to clean up boils, injuries of infants again was a big handicap for all of us... Our Group Leader Suresh, a dedicated individual had built beautiful rapport with villagers – old or young, was a medical student from Pune. His leadership was very well executed by four volunteers – Harsha, Pooja (BSW), Rahul and Bhushan (Engineering students)... who guided us well. What surprised me was after they left us at the base camp, and there was no follow up as to what we needed or if there was any problem.

I did have a talk with Dr. Ture, Rajaram, Ram about shortage of medicines, and problems faced by volunteers in villages... It was through Dr. Ture I came to know that we had signed a declaration that the Trust (for whom all volunteers were working after paying Rs. 700/- for 10 days) is not responsible if anything happens to one of us. How disgusting it is because the declaration form was in Marathi and Ms. Anil and I couldn’t understand it... we were never told that such a clause was there... we were told just to write our names and addresses and sign it.

So when the 10 days ended, at the base camp I questioned to Dr. Ajit as to how can you send the volunteers without sufficient supply of medicines and this is what we all had to listen – ‘You all are here to counsel and generate awareness among the villagers to lead a clean and healthy life style. Medicines are not required but counselling is and that is what we are here for. There are enough medicines at PHC (Primary Health Centres) and the villagers should be told that they should visit PHC when they get sick... only serious infant patients should be treated with medicines.’ All of us sitting at Dharni Base were shocked to hear this... and since I was questioning their mismanagement, Dr. Roy even commented – ‘Johnny is a big critic.’ Chandrakant asked Ms. Anil if she faced any problems (she suffered from skin allergy) – all these happened when I had walked out of the hall. If it was only counselling, why did they ask people to donate medicines? Why the volunteers were not briefed at arrival that they will be only counselling the villagers? The Orientation and Training were insufficient and it shows that the management had really not planned a fool proof system for such a huge camp.

I had to leave to drop Ms. Anil to Khandwa because the management couldn’t convince me about their inefficiencies to run such a camp after conducting yearly camps since the last 14 years. When I returned back the next day at the camp, the situation was once again similar to what we all had experienced before. No supply or follow up of medicines status... thankfully a lot of medicines arrived from my friends, who had send to serve the poor tribal villagers. During my absence from the camp, our Group Leader Shambhaji (MSW) had had a talk with Chandrakant about all the problems and this is what he told me – ‘I had a talk with Chandu and he told if the Trust wants to run the camp in such a manner, what can he do?’

Volunteers from my batch were aghast that there is no proper system and management on the whole and did feel they were cheated by being charged Rs. 700/- to serve as a volunteer. More in my next post...

(... to be continued...)


  1. Johnny my boy, my advice not only to you but to all the kind-hearted people out there who wish to contribute for some noble cause (God bless you all for that!), next time make sure you folks investigate first to find out the NGOs are genuine or fraudulent, trust me these days there are more fraudulent NGOs than the genuine ones, especially in India (sorry to say that!)! What you’re doing right now by writing about your bad experiences with them you’re already helping in fighting against the fraudulent NGOs. I think it’s about time that we should think about fighting this so-called-NGOs-making money by concealing their true colours. I cannot imagine 14 years in the business!! Come let us all uproot such NGOs so that the genuine ones can do their good work without these fraudulent NGOs putting dark patches on them. Keep writing my boy it’s worth the risks you folks took being their volunteers. May God bless you always!

  2. Acchaka ('Thank you' in Korku dialect) and grateful for your kind support and blessings Sir...

    Sai Baba bless you always! - Cuidate :)