Tuesday, 16 June 2009

"The future depends on what we do in the present"

It’s just another six weeks until I go to Rajasthan with my son to work on The Raven Foundation project with Dr Deepak Babel and we thought it would be helpful to have an update. 

We have the land and we are waiting for the electricity and water to be connected to the site.  Now we need to start on the perimeter walls, and the building. We hope to lay the Foundation stone in the first week of August and will keep you updated from Rajasthan. 

Of course we have a long way to go, not least with the construction work and more importantly, the building up of trust with the local people, who are superstitious and naturally resistant to change.  But as Mahatma Gandhi said: “The future depends on what we do in the present”.   

In India, we work closely with Dr Deepak Babel, who already manages a 100-bedded Private Limited company hospital in Udaipur. You can visit Deepak on Facebook to find out more about him, but for those of you who don’t subscribe to social networking, Deepak is a highly qualified medical doctor, An Orthopaedic surgeon and has done his M.B.A. - International Hospital Management in Frankfurt, Germany. During his course he had a chance to visit many hospitals in Europe, UK, USA, UAE, Singapore and China and study the health care structure in these places. As you already know from our first entry, he saved my husband’s life in India last November. 

In India, there is no healthcare system except for those who can afford to pay, and as Deepak says:  “When you do not have sufficient funds to eat or drink, you forget about paying for your health”. 

“As a doctor, I have been seeing this for the last 15 years and watching people die just because there are inadequate medical facilities, especially in rural areas.  Another major problem is the spread of communicable and infectious diseases. 

“We need to do a lot, and perhaps if everyone does a little to help, even by just watching our progress, the project will grow. 

“I ask you all to join hands and spread the word about this humanitarian project and help those people who are deprived of basic medical facilities.  After all, we humans are the only ones who can help others”. 

I support Deepak in all these comments and as a westerner, am amazed by how little it will cost in relative terms to provide a basic facility for the local people.  I’m not going to quote all the figures here, but for the cost of a new car in Europe or the US, we can buy an ambulance; for the price of a new conservatory, we can build a clinic; and for the outlay of a new washing machine, we can pay a nurse’s salary for a year! 

We are truly grateful to those of you who are already supporting this project by following our progress and are now looking at ways of widening our coverage, so that those interested can donate online – if anybody reading this can help or advise on the best way to go about this, please contact me at:  charlottesraven@gmail.com  

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

In memory of Paul....who gave us HOPE!

This project was a dream for my father, Paul (left), who died in March of this year, having made four score years and one (81).  He was a simple man, much loved, who came from very humble beginnings and who believed that anything was possible if you worked hard enough.

During the last two years of his life, Paul battled against cancer, but like so many of the village people that we hope to help in India, and with the same generosity of spirit that is typical there, he did not seek to get help, and felt that the needs of his family should be met before his own.

As a family, we endeavoured to get the best possible treatment for him.  I hope that we matched Indian standards in terms of our ability to love and care for him.

Paul knew all about this project and was, until the very end, interested in what we were planning to do.  He was fascinated by all the photographs of India and the tales I told on my return to the UK.  He loved to look at the pictures of the lake in Udaipur and of the wonderful landscapes in India. 

Sadly, he died just three days before I left for Udaipur last time in the spring of this year, and everybody that I am working with in India, knows how great my sense of loss was.  I shall always miss him, as will everybody else who knew him, but Paul's spirit will live on with all of us at The Raven Foundation, because he was so brave.

In the weeks before he died he used to say to me: "It's so important to help other people everywhere".  

Dr Deepak Babel and I were talking about him just recently and we have decided to use part of what he said as our slogan:  "Help Other People Everywhere" which also translates as HOPE.