Texas doctors dig deep to support HEAL Paradise Village preschoolers

HEAL donors Dr Lenin Pinnamaneni and wife Dr Kavitha Pinnamaneni at Paradise Village

TWO Texas doctors returned to their roots in Andhra Pradesh, India, this summer to see the progress being made on the school they donated to underprivileged children through the charity Health and Education for All (HEAL).

And the former AP medical students, who have practiced in America for more than 40 years, took part in a tree-planting ceremony near the site of the Jasti Kameswari Preschool at HEAL Paradise Village to mark the occasion.

HEAL donors Dr Lenin Pinnamaneni and wife Dr Kavitha Pinnamaneni at Paradise Village

The guests are given a tour of the partly-constructed school building

Dr Lenin Pinnamaneni, an internist based at Huntington, and wife Dr Kavitha Pinnamaneni, a haematology specialist at Lufkin, Texas, received a warm welcome from the children and staff of Paradise Village and were pleased to see the school building progressing nicely.

HEAL founder Dr Satya Prasad Koneru, who will soon be heading to the United States on a fundraising mission, said he regarded the Pinnamanenis as “part of my extended family”.

“Lenin was one year senior to me in medical school at Guntur, while Kavitha was a childhood friend,” he said. “Her mother was passionate about preschool, so I was delighted when they came forward to sponsor the Jasti Kameswari Preschool at Paradise Village.”

The couple headed to Kentucky during the mid-Seventies and after training at Andhra Medical College University of Health Sciences, Kavitha went on to complete her studies at the University of Louisville. Lenin received his medical degree from Guntur Medical College before setting up practise in the States.

Work on Phase I of Paradise Village is nearing completion, with the finishing touches being applied to the preschool and primary school, girls dormitories, an institute for the visually challenged and a skills development centre, the latter funded by Fort Worth-based neurologist Dr Krishnababu Chunduri.

HEAL donors Dr Lenin Pinnamaneni and wife Dr Kavitha Pinnamaneni at Paradise Village

HEAL children put on a performance in their open-air auditorium

Donors are urgently being sought for new staff quarters, part of the Phase II development which includes a health centre and artificial limb centre, sporting facilities and a senior volunteers residence.

“Our initial target is to lift 10,000 children out of poverty and place them into education by the year 2020,” said Dr Prasad, “but we can only achieve that if we have the right number of staff and are able to give them the quality training and support they need.

HEAL donors Dr Lenin Pinnamaneni and wife Dr Kavitha Pinnamaneni at Paradise Village

“It’s therefore vital that we get the proper infrastructure in place at Paradise Village to help us achieve our goals. Running costs will be high as we take on more and more children, but the next step must be to find funding for our staff quarters and admin block, which will cost in the region of £750,000 between them.”

Meanwhile, HEAL is preparing to launch an Urban Slum Skills Development Programme, offering vocational training to unskilled 18-year-olds, and is pressing ahead with its application to extend its Paradise project with the addition of a new HEAL University.

HEAL donors Dr Lenin Pinnamaneni and wife Dr Kavitha Pinnamaneni at Paradise Village

Work is progressing well on the Primary School and Jasti Kameswari Preschool

To find out more about how to donate to HEAL, or to get in touch, please visit www.healparadise.org or healcharity.org for details.