Free Pediatric Surgeries for Underprivileged Kids


HERD Foundation

Dr Amol Deshmukh Addressing Audience on Bal Shalyakriya Mission 2017

HERD Foundation held an inaugural event on January 29, 2017 to start off a free pediatric surgery campaign by an empathetic medical team comprising of surgeons, technicians, and paramedics from US, Europe and New Zealand. These kindred spirits will perform intricate surgeries for the next ten days on children afflicted with deformities or diseases requiring corrective surgery. NKPSIMS and Lata Mangeshkar Hospital our affiliate concerns will provide wherewithal for the laudable mission.

As a non-profit organization HERD Foundation serves underprivileged children especially from rural areas, to give them opportunities to avail free surgical services in a compassionate and culturally sensitive manner. At the same time it becomes a wonderful opportunity for professional training, education and support to surgeons, nurses and caregivers in our own hospital.

Most of these children usually get no access to medical, leave alone surgical services. These surgeries include reconstructive surgery for all kinds of general pediatric surgery. The goal is to provide a location, resources and skills to allow these procedures to take place through the network of professionals and voluntary agencies. Of the 400 children registered for screening, 130 have been identified for the various surgeries.

As a humanitarian organization we are fortunate to have like minded organizations willing to support and provide free medical surgery. Their benevolence helps us to provide highly specialized surgical services performed by top-notch pediatric providers. HERD Foundations Bal Shalyakriya Mission was started in 2014 and this is the fourth consecutive year that we have organized such facilities.

It is truly a unique mission in which many organizations join in with a missionary zeal. Our success may be gauged not just in terms of numbers of deserving children who get help but also how local professional caregivers receive training to enhance their skills.

The successful run of the mission provides hope for identified children from Central India to undergo surgery. Bal Shalyakriya Mission is a joint collaboration with Peedh Parai International, Houston (USA), Persistent Systems, Nagpur, Bal Mitra Nagpur and GSB Sabha, Nagpur. NKPSIMS and Lata Mangeshkar Hospital as host organizations facilitate performing of these surgeries.

Identified children receive surgical treatments for conditions with which they continue to live unaware that they are surgically treatable. Patients suffering from congenital anomalies, Anorectal malformation, Hirschsprungs disease, vesicoureteral reflux, Spinal deformities, Thoracic and Lung congenital anomalies etc. get benefits for corrective pediatric surgery free of cost.

Dr Amol Deshmukh, MD HERD Foundation is delighted by the comprehensive and holistic outreach of medical services. It is exciting to be part of the mission on this important initiative that HERD Foundation has been part of every year. It is a privilege to handhold with the distinguished experts having diverse strengths and to collaborate on important advances in medical expertise.

HERD Foundation

Pediatric Surgery Mission Medical Team – Surgeons, Technicians, Paramedics from USA, Europe & NZ


Cut-Off Birth Dates Set by Education Department

HERD Foundation

New Cut-Off Dates for Admission

It is good thing that Department of Education, Maharashtra State has made it official to set the cut-off birth date for school admissions from July 31 to September 30. This provides ease of admission to parents who earlier were stressed about the situation. The education department had earlier made similar changes for admissions to seats reserved for economically deprived sections under the Right to Education Act, 2009. And now it has gone ahead to extend the facility to all students.

In January 2015 the Education Department issued a government resolution setting an age criterion for school admissions. This was in line with requirements under Right To Education, Act that made it mandatory for students in class I to be six years of age. To comply to this regulation by year 2019, schools had begun admitting children who had completed three years by July 31 to nursery classes and four-and-a-half years were admitted to senior kindergarten.

Last week it was announced that the rules had been modified and that cut-off date was changed to September 30. This move now enables numerous children to get admission, who would otherwise have had to sit out of formal schooling system for almost a year were they born between July 31 and September 30. The new rule will apply to institutions under all the boards, including CBSE and ICSE.

It was observed that last year the age criterion had fewer children getting admissions in schools. Some schools had to even cut classes to make provisions for a larger intake of students for subsequent academic sessions. But now all children born between July 31, 2016 and September 30, 2017 will become eligible for admissions. The state education department has issued a modified government resolution (GR) bringing into effect September 30 as the cut-off birth date for school admissions from 2017-18 academic sessions.

The new birth date cut-off will be applicable to all schools, regardless of the board they are affiliated to. And most schools are taking care to see that parents are not inconvenienced. Many times children from poorer families especially in rural areas may get just one chance at education and if their parents are told about age cut-off being a deterrent they may not pursue later on. This would be an immense loss in terms of all efforts to push education for all.

RTE Act makes us push for village kids to join schools but quite often parents may not want them to attend school. They would rather a kid sit back and learn chores than go to school. Wanting that extra helping hand at home often rural kids miss out or are turned away because of age criteria with just for a month’s difference! Rural parents might never bring back such a kid to school again! Even though schools find themselves in the middle of such bureaucratic decisions they continue to assist parents with admissions as per the new ruling.

HERD Foundation

Cut-Off Birth Dates Set by Education Department

Status of Rural Sports

HERD Foundation

Rural Sports Are Here To Stay

Rural people in our country comprise of much higher percentage of populations than residents concentrated in urban areas. It may come as a surprise to some that rural people do have a higher level of physical fitness too as compared to urban counterparts. It therefore becomes essential to look for talents lying dormant among rural youth so that they can be made to participate in sports events. It is our hope that we can set up means to cull out sports persons so that they stand a chance for inclusion at national and even international levels.

We need to pay attention to closing existing gaps by exploring ways to set up rural sports facilities. For some strange reason sports have remained confined to citified populations. It is for this reason that you will find awareness, equipments, training, infrastructure and other sports facilities available largely for urban people. Despite the fact that Rural Sports Programme launched by Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India in 1970, it has till date clearly not managed to reach rural populations.

HERD Foundation is of the view that given appropriate means and wherewithal rural sports can flourish. It is up to most of us to ensure that sports and games are given the right push. It is therefore our endeavor to broad-base games and sports events in rural areas. We have been experimenting on our own by arranging volleyball, cricket and kabbadi tournaments in identified rural districts for past three years. Our efforts and ensuing outcomes make us believe that it is a vital area of interest, one that can change the rural scenario.

However financial aspects of indulging into sports venture leaves us perplexed. It is a fiscally demanding area of operations, one in which even the government allocated funds fail to find their mark. Aside from funds not reaching the last mile, inherent corruption makes funds disappear before they can be used for the given purposes. Also there has been no systematic attempt to propagate sports activities in rural areas. Added to this is the dismal lack of public awareness in rural areas that they do have access to sports.

Studies indicate that rural citizenry remains unaware of State government measures for meeting sports needs, at both district and block levels. Not many people know that State governments are liable to organize sports even at village levels. This means that Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports is not able to disseminate knowledge related to access to sports and sports schemes at village levels. The fact is information reaches only up to block level where Block Youth Affairs and Sports Officials usually have an office. Clearly the responsibility for promoting and training rural sports is not being taken seriously.

Our own experimentation over the past three years have shown that the test of raw strength and stamina in rural parts is truly remarkable. We have had plenty of fun, frolic and competition in some of the identified sports that proved popular. We see the activities going far beyond than what we aimed for. What had started out as a scheme to introduce the fun of sports and skills through our programme, now wants us doing much more. Our hopes are pinned on our endeavor to extend rural sports to be recognized as a crucial link for wider outreach.

HERD Foundation Sports Programme

Volleyball Fun At Parseoni


January 25 – National Voters’ Day India

HERD Foundation

Young Voters to the Fore

January 25 signifies a day that is marked down to encourage more young voters to take part in the political process. It was in 2011 that the Government of India decided to celebrate this day every year as ‘National Voters’ Day’ or Rashtriya Mat-data Diwas. It was the Union Cabinet, chaired by the then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh who had approved a Law Ministry proposal to this effect.

It was observed that these new entrants into the voting arena, once they were 18 years, showed a certain disinterest in getting themselves enrolled into electoral rolls. This made it imperative to create awareness among the new set of voters coming up across the country to fully understand their role to become actively involved in the voting process.

In a bid to effectively deal with the issue the Election Commission decided to identify eligible voters who attain the age of 18 years, every January in every polling station across the country. Such eligible voters now get enrolled on time and are given an Electoral Photo Identity Card or EPIC on January 25 every year. This initiative is also to give the youth a sense of empowerment, pride and inspire them to exercise their franchise.

These young voters are made to feel proud to be ready to vote. It is certainly is a joy to observe these youthful voters catching up with the electoral processes in our country. ‘One person, one vote’ is a democratic right that is ensured to this section of the population ready to join the ballot too. These young or first-time voters are said to be vital for the ballot that often appears to be a truism in Indian politics.

HERD Foundation

Ready to Vote

January 24 – National Girl Child Day

final_ngd_logoWhile it is amazing that in a country like ours where female deities are revered and treated with utmost deference, we have still felt the need to allocate a day for the girl child so that her growth, potential and safety may not be compromised. Yes, since 2009 India has been observing January 24 as National Girl Child Day.

The day marks the need to preserve and protect the sanctity and inviolate right of little girls to be free and safe.  Naturally, free and safe from what might be the next logical question. The truth is we yet need to keep our girls safe from traditions that suppress and subjugate the world of girls as they grow in a more and more gender divisive world.

The day marks out the need to support and offer opportunities to young girls. It is essential to increase awareness about inequalities faced by girls in our society, on any stratum. Such inequalities exist in plain sight but are often invisible since they are so unknowingly accepted and are so widespread. Inequalities persist in critical areas like nutrition, education, medical care, safety, and access to rights.

It was for this reason that the National Girl Child Day was instituted to take on a mission by the Government of India. This mission focuses on raising awareness among people across the country about the importance of promoting the girl child. It is marked out so as to draw attention of parents and communities the meaningful contribution they should be making for the proper growth of girls.

Celebrated in a spirit of enlarging the scope and position of girls in our society to make their lives happier and more fulfilling, it is necessary to do away with existing discrimination and exploitation at every level. It is heartening to make note that this awareness is being shared by political leaders and community leaders to ensure that girls get access to equal education and fundamental freedoms.

Even today female literacy rate in the country stands at 53.87% while one-third of young girls remain malnourished. Young women in the reproductive age group are anemic and suffer from psychosomatic illnesses in the wake of gender discrimination that renders them feeble and dependent. National Girl Child Day was earmarked by Women and Child Development Ministry to campaign inequalities faced by girls in Indian society.


Stay Fit – Become A Weekend Warrior

HERD Foundation

Stay Fit – Enjoy Exercising on Weekends

Today’s Times of India reports an alarming study conducted at University of California San Diego that summates – sitting down for long periods of time isn’t just bad for your metabolism, it can make you age quicker too. It is decidedly disturbing for men and women who spend long hours working on computers. The study suggests that sitting down for more than ten hours a day without regular exercise make cells age prematurely.

Dr Aladdin Shadyab, key researcher with Department of Family Medicine and Public Health states, “Our study found cells age faster with a sedentary lifestyle. Chronological age doesn’t always match biological age”. The women in the study were part of Women’s Health Initiative that was conducting an investigation to determine chronic diseases in postmenopausal women.

Since we all know how beneficial it is to exercise all efforts should be made to remain physically active as long as possible. But very often the daily grind of work-life and early commutes leave us bereft of time, opportunity and energy to do useful exercise for our own good. In which case the increasing trend of taking to exercising over the weekend is catching on.

But the question on every one’s mind is whether exercising over the weekend is just as effective as a little bit of exercise every day? While daily regular exercise does improve overall health, there is increasing belief that suggests even moderate hours spent exercising over weekends can help control body weight, lower cholesterol and maintain blood pressure. This is good news for fitness lovers who do not have time during the working week.

A research study on this subject compiled data from 1994 to 2008 to examine links between mortality rates and so-called weekend warrior exercise habits. It appears to suggest that those who undertook weekend exercising remain as healthy as regular daily exercisers. However these weekend warriors largely tend to be males.

Women are therefore urged to become weekend warriors as well. They may devise a weekend exerciser routine to provide them benefits of daily physical activity. It would reduce their risk of ageing and depleting metabolism. They should get into the weekend warrior mode to include physical activity patterns or at least planned sessions per week that include moderate and vigorous-intensity physical activity. It will help them ward off adverse effects of desk-bound lifestyles.

HERD Foundation

Create a Sunday Morning Exercise Routine