Since 1994 the pediatrician Dr. Monika Golembiewski has been coming to India for providing medical help to Santal communities in the rural areas around Bolpur. Santals constitute the third largest tribe in India and account about half of total tribal population in West Bengal.
In the beginning Monika lived directly in the Santal village being closely related to the village communities of Ghoshaldanga and Bishnubati. Thereby she could experience the living conditions, customs and personal hardships of the villagers.
Ten years ago Monika´s son Nico and his wife Silvia Golembiewski joined the pathway of developing aid headed by the desire to give, and to pass on everything that could be of help for others to experience a better living.
The village work embraced preventive medical care for children and mothers with improvement of hygiene and nutrition by spreading knowledge through trained health workers and hosting community-feeding programs.
Santals live closely related to nature and away from the city regions, often reluctant to seek for medical care. This hesitancy comes from lack of awareness for the need or possibility to encounter the condition of being sick. Further the Indian health system leaves out the most vulnerable ones, with tribal people facing severe problems in following diagnostics and treatments by themselves. Altogether the desire was growing to establish a health care center as bottleneck between rural site and city region, where Santals feel accepted and secured.
In 2011 the charitable children hospital St. Mary´s Child and Mother Health Care Centre has been established offering preventive checkups for newborns and pregnant women, supplementary food for malnourished children and diagnostic and treatment for anemic, infectious, neurological, or TB suspected individuals. Patients in severe condition are referred to specialized health facilities but in accompaniment and continuous monitoring by staff members in order to track the process in treatment until full recovery.
Today Shining Eyes embraces five relevant topics of development: with agriculture, nutrition and health constituting the main pillars, interrelated with water, sanitation, hygiene and creating economic incentives. This holistic network tries to encounter the intergenerational vicious circle of malnutrition, and overcome the interrelation between poverty and malnutrition by preventive action.
A trustful relationship is the key for providing medical help to the Santals. We make them understand the need of intervening in conditions of sickness or discomfort by seeking for help and accepting medical treatment. Raising awareness in all spheres related to health and nutrition is at the core of preventive actions.
Beneath your compassion, we take refuge,
O holy Mother of God; do not despise our petitions in our necessities,
but rescue us from dangers,
O glorious and blessed virgin. Amen.
Now let lay down some flowers reverently,
O Mother of heaven before your throne,
I invoke thy blessing for my work,
O Maria I do not crave any other reward!
Shining Eyes India was established in February 2013 to improve the health of tribal children especially in the rural area around Bolpur at Birbhum District, West Bengal.
The Trustees of Shining Eyes India are named in the following. All members contribute to the implementation of this development work.
Prof. Dr. Swapan Mukhopadhyay - President and neuro-pediatrician.
Dr. Monika Golembiewski - Secretary and pediatrician, project initiator.
Satyanarayan Roy - Treasurer and project coordinator.
Snehadri Shekhar Chakraborty - Trustee and engineer/ technical advice.
Dr. Sujit Kumar Paul - Trustee and Professor at Visva-Bharati University/ rural development.
The Trust enjoys 12 AA and 80G benefit
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