One of the projects that Heart Valve Bank (HVB) is involved in is the annual Grama Seva project undertaken jointly with the students and faculty members of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL), all campuses. The words “Grama Seva” literally translate to “Village Service”.
This project was inspired by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The importance of proper nutrition in preventing diseases is well accepted by all involved. The level of poverty in many villages across India is a factor that contributes to the prevalence of many preventable disorders. Examples of these are diseases due to protein calorie malnutrition and vitamin deficiency in the villages around Puttaparthi.
Proper protection is needed against hot sun to avoid diseases induced by excess exposure to the strong rays of the sun. During the winter months, nights and early mornings can be very cold, requiring appropriate clothing, especially when the homes are not well built to keep warm. Lack of proper clothing to protect against the elements can lead to diseases. it is for the above reasons, HVB distributes food and clothing to poor villagers around Puttaparthi.
HVB believes that such preventive measures are vital along side the contribution it makes towards interventional medicine. HVB’s mission was to help and supervise the distribution of food and clothing to as many needy people as possible across numerous rural villages over a period of approximately 7 days. This mammoth task involved over a large number students and faculty members not to mention sisters from the Anantapur Campus, who worked tirelessly throughout each night preparing the food.
The purpose of HVB’s presence is to ensure that the needy and poor benefitted from the distribution and also to see first hand the needs and requirements of the poor in rural areas..
Upon arrival at each village, we were.guided by the village elders. Sometimes the atmosphere was a bit tense until they realize our intensions. In addition The HVB Group had taken the initiative to learn a few Telegu phrases which were put into practice whilst visiting the villages. We were therefore somewhat able to communicate with the poor.
Many of the homes we visited were no bigger than a single room — with up to a dozen people sharing the accommodation. A number of poor people were in tears as they were presented with the parcels. Most of them looked into the sky and repeatedly thanked the Lord. Of the many children we spoke to, we could clearly see the vision of hope in their eyes. It has been evident that the poor were suffering from malnutrition and exposure to heat and cold and that the distribution by HVB has assisted in preventive health care.