A significant addition to the Sevalaya family is Samaritan Hospital at Gudalur and allied social service activities among the tribals.

This followed the recent transfer of the organization and its activities as desired by co-founder Dr Lakshmi Chettur Herring.

SAMARITAN GRAMODHARAN SAMITHY (SGS) was established in 1991 by Dr Herbert Herring, Former Director of the German Cultural Institute of Madras and his wife Dr Lakshmi Chettur Herring.

The Doctor couple chose Gudalur as the operational location for this NGO, with the aim of helping the neglected tribals and other very poor people of Gudalur in Nilgiri district and its suburbs to a reasonable existence and a better future. In 2002, after the demise of Dr Herring, Dr Lakshmi carried the mission forward with fervour until, advancing in age; she sought out Sevalaya to take over the organisation and its operations. From 1st April 2021, SGS has become part of the Sevalaya family. With 8 out of 10 persons suffering from ill health and malnutrition, medical aid and food were the initial priority. A clinic with one full time Doctor and one Nurse was opened. It has grown into a Ten bed hospital with two full time Doctors and five Nursing staff, Casuality, ICU, operating Theatre, Delivery Suite, X-Ray machine and Ultrasound Scanner, Clinical Lab and Pharmacy. Apart from treating patients at the Hospital, a medical team with a Doctor and Nurse visits hamlets in the forest and treats patients who are unable to come to the hospital. Preventive vaccinations are carried out. Basic awareness regarding health and hygiene is created during these visits.

SGS’s scope of support to the tribal communities extend to nutrition, education, vocation and shelter.

■ Provisions, rice, dhal, oil and vegetables are distributed to needy families on a weekly basis.

■ Samaritan’s social workers persuade them to send their children to school. Children are given books, pencils, uniforms and rain coats.

■ The roofs (grass thatch or plastic sheet etc.) of their huts leak and floors are soaked. SGS has been renovating them with bamboo frame and tiles, by providing the material.

■ Throughout the year, used cloths are collected and distributed. Once a year a set of new clothes and a woollen blanket are given to those who have no source of income at all.

■ Tailoring classes are run to give the women folk a vocation.

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