Children need to be healthy to have the energy for learning and play

Education isn’t just about academics. In order to be able to focus on their studies, children need to be healthy and learn how to stay that way. Their families need to be healthy, and they need a clean, safe environment in which to live. KHEL works with communities to help them understand the need for nutrition, hygiene and preventative care. We provide free health care to the most needy of our children and their families. We are there for emergency medical aid in case of accidents or life-threatening illness. Even though we educate our children about basic hygiene, occasionally our teachers have to bathe a child who comes to school dirty.

KHEL provides community health camps with a group of qualified health care professionals and specialists. We offer crucial education about health, hygiene and nutrition. Free medical check-ups are available to all participants, a policy that allows for early diagnosis and treatment of health problems. Information and issues we deal with include family planning, education about HIV/AIDS and other diseases as well as advice and support for healthy pregnancy and childbearing/rearing. KHEL works with the Indian Government to vaccinate against Polio, Hepatitis, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Typhoid and many other illnesses that, unchecked, reach epidemic proportion in poor communities. We provide the venue for health camps at the KHEL school, Lakshmi Devi Academy. Our teachers at are actively involved in health education and support in our communities. Staff volunteer their free time to knock on doors, answer questions and, of course, hold children’s hands on the day of the vaccination camp.

A KHEL-sponsored program provides specially designed shoes for Leprosy patients

Hygiene is essential to leading a healthy, disease free life. Leprosy is a disfiguring, painful disease, often resulting in emotional anguish because of extreme social stigma. It is also a curable illness. It is spread through prolonged contact with an infected person, or by living in the filth that commonly surrounds a slum: raw sewage, seasonal river flooding, no clean water. These are only a few of the issues that confronted us when we first began. It’s cleaner in the KHEL community now, but the dirt and cobblestone roads flood in the monsoons and there are still piles of rubbish that are raided by street kids eager to find something to eat or sell.

KHEL provides basic needs such as bulk food rations, medical assistance and community development to leprosy colonies in the Dehradun area. The adult residents of a leprosy colony need support other than a formal education. They need education about health and hygiene, and the means to apply the knowledge. For example, if they are made aware of the hazards of sewage, they still need access to sanitary facilities. With the generous help of donors, we have provided stable housing, replacing huts made of scavenged material with safe and lasting homes. KHEL has built community centers and medical dispensaries. We have designed and implemented clean water and sanitary facilities, coordinated with other charity groups to provide specially designed shoes, participated in their celebrations and, most important of all, treated them like human beings.