In 2002, JELA launched a program named “Children of God”, aimed at supporting children in Asia. This work began with tube well construction in West Bengal, East India, working in cooperation with Lutheran World Service India Trust (LWSIT). At the same time, JELA began providing medical support for the CHRP (Comprehensive Rural Health Project) hospital, located in Maharashtra State in West India. Since this time, our cooperative mission relationship with both LWSIT and CHRP deepened as JELA provided support in many ways, including funds for hospital construction, medical equipment, and the sending of experienced medical professionals. Additionally, JELA regularly sends Japanese volunteers to assist in making prosthetic limbs for local residents in Jamkhed.
LWSIT – Calcutta Urban Project
In an effort to provide children with a future of hope, JELA has set child education as a mission priority. Without a proper education, India children are confined to a life of “living on the street”, which means that young girls often end up working in the sex industry and young boys simply collect garbage for a living. The LWSIT-managed Urban Project is unique in that it provides practical skills, such as bookkeeping, computer use, hair styling, tailoring and craft making. JELA’s financial support is used to partially cover teacher salaries and school supplies. Moreover, during the past three years,JELA has expanded involvement in the Urban Project by providing solar lighting, thus enabling children to study during the evening hours.
CRHP – Hospital and Capacity Building Project
CRHP is recognized throughout India and internationally for as a model for success in alleviating poverty in rural Maharashtra, through a comprehensive program in “capacity building” or teaching people to help themselves. Under the visionary leadership of Dr. Raj Arole and his wife, Dr. Mabel, CRHP was established to teach rural villagers primary and preventative health care. Since the early 1970s, CRHP work has reached more than 300 villages, impacting the lives of thousands of people, in Maharashtra State. As a result of the Arole’s tireless work, the infant mortality rate has sharply declined and most infectious diseases have been eradicated. Furthermore, maternity care and child nutrition has greatly improved as a direct result of CRHP’s commitment to help poor people living in the Jamkhed area.
In addition to primary health care, the work of CHRP has expanded in recent years to include vocational and agriculture training, as well as providing a shelter facility to protect women who are suffering from HIV/AIDS.
As a model of success in alleviating poverty and disease, medical students throughout the world (including the United States, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia) come to CRHP each year to learn first-hand skills focused on primary health care and capacity building.
Dr. and Mrs. Arole were members of the Episcopal Church and had previously worked at the well-known John Hopkins Medical Hospital in Baltimore. Since the deaths of Raj and Mabel, the work is being carried on by their daughter, Dr Shoba Arole.
Artificial Limb-making Camp
In February 2005, JELA participated in its first Work Camp, whereby 10 Japanese volunteers spent one week at CHRP to assist in making prosthetic limbs for 100 area residents. Most of the artificial limb recipients are poor, rural farmers who lost a leg due to disease or injury. Without this critical support program, these people would have little opportunity to live productive lives. JELA has supported this important program by providing necessary funding and the sending of volunteers.
Beginning in 2003, JELA began providing necessary medical equipment for CRHP, with the purchase of an infant incubator. Prior to the incubator, the hospital was confined to using a simple wooden box and light bulb to keep a child warm after birth. We continue to support the purchase of additional incubators as funds are available.
JELA Receives Japan Government Grant
In 2009, JELA was the recipient of a 4.5 million JPY grant to purchase needed medical equipment, under the “NGO Cooperative Grant Program” of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In awarding the grant, the Ministry recognized JELA’s professionalism and commitment to helping to improve the livelihood of people living in rural India. In addition to equipment used for respiratory purposes, JELA provided CRHP with an advanced machine for echocardiography and ultrasonic purposes.
JELA’s mission involvement did not simply end with the provision of necessary medical equipment. In 2009, JELA also sent a medical doctor from the University of Occupational and Environmental Health Kitakyushu, Dr. Masaaki Takeuchi, to train local staff in medical equipment use over a three day period. At the same time, Dr. Takeuchi provided free cardio checks for over 100 adults and children. Through this medical check, a young six-year old girl was diagnosed with a heart defect and is now living a healthy life after corrective surgery.