IT has been 25 years since a simple act of kindness led to the formation of a charity called HEAL, or 'Health and Education for All', to give it its full name.
Dr Satya Prasad Koneru donated his family home to start a small orphanage all those years ago and the journey over the next quarter of a century has seen HEAL achieving great things for the benefit of some of the most vulnerable children in India.
Ever since registering as a charity in the UK, where Dr Prasad went on to a long and successful career as general practitioner, HEAL has been committed to providing shelter, support, education and healthcare to orphaned, abandoned and destitute children.
HEAL has been one of the real beauties of this charity is that it is still run entirely by volunteers, despite the obvious pressures to appoint paid staff and incur sizeable administration costs. Put simply, this means that all money raised by HEAL's valued donors and child sponsors goes directly for the benefit of the children in its care.
Alongside its expanding Poverty Trap support programme for poorly-funded schools in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states, projects include the long-established HEAL Children’s Village in Guntur, and an unparalleled educational campus called 'Paradise Village', currently in the final phase of construction at Thotapalli, which will provide a cradle-to-career home for 1,000 underprivileged children.
Features of this flagship project include:
HEAL/Elizabeth Panton Artificial Limb Centre, providing child amputees with long-term and holistic support;
Vocational Training Centre;
Institute for the Visually Challenged;
Full-time residential Secondary School and Primary School education;
Health Centre, Sports Centre & Seniors Residences.
These days, HEAL has chapters not only in India and the UK, but also in Australia and USA, where celebrations and fundraising functions have begun to mark the HEAL Silver Jubilee.
And minds are already focused on the next 25 years and beyond, with the ambitious goal of helping up to 10,000 children escape the poverty trap by 2020.
To find out more about HEAL, please visit the website at www.healcharity.org, where you can learn how to get involved in fundraising events such as Cycle India 2018, sponsor a child, make a donation, become a volunteer or even leave a legacy gift in your will.