Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Doctor to make HEAL-ing global

A CHARITY that started life in the city is set to go global, helping thousands of children languishing in the slums of India.
Peterborough was the birthplace of HEALHealth and Education for All.

Now its founder Dr Koneru Prasad, who started by donating his ancestral home in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, to house orphaned children, will be casting his net across the Atlantic and further afield.

In the coming months, HEAL American will take shape. Also on the horizon are branches in Canada and, eventually, every state in India.

Next month a glitzy event in Peterborough is set to raise cash that will be used to provide shelter, education and health care for the poorest of children in India.

And as soon as it is over, the kindhearted GP at the Westwood Clinic in Wicken Way, Westwood, Peterborough, will be off to Atlanta to set up a branch of HEAL, the organisation he founded in 1992.

And he is also recruiting for Cycle 2010, after the resounding success of Cycle India 2008, where 30 cyclists from the UK (many from the city), US and India raised £100,000 by cycling through the beautiful countryside of Andhra Pradesh in south India.

In the 16 years since HEAL was set up four projects have been launched, including a children's village, a boys' hostel and a health centre.

The charity's next big step is to raise £250,000 to build a school for children languishing in the slums of Hyderabad, another south Indian city.

And Dr Prasad is hoping the charity evening on Friday, September 26 will help move him closer to this dream.He said: "We need more than £100,000 a year for 1,000 children."

The money from the dinner and dance will go towards building new villages and schools, accommodation for destitute children and also a health centre."

He said the work was enormously rewarding."Our first baby Mamatha came to us at two months old and I didn't think she would survive because she was so dehydrated," he said."

But I went there in July and she was fully grown and a beautiful young lady who has joined a college and is studying engineering."It is so satisfying to see."

In two to three years time, she will be looking after herself."To see the fruits and results of your work in your lifetime is so satisfying.

"In spite of such traumatic backgrounds, they are still achieving and living their lives." Dr Prasad is set to cut down the hours he spends at Westwood Clinic and will travel to India twice a year to help poverty-stricken children.

For more information on the charity, visit http://www.heal.org
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