A part of a healthy life is financial wellness. So developing livelihoods and entrepreneurship programmes through skill training for communities, particularly for women, and empowering them to overcome social, economic and environmental challenges, is an important limb of Total Health. Our skilling centres have state-of-the-art facilities and a safe working environment. Also, naturalists from Amrabad are being trained to work as guides for tourists who would like to explore the bees, bugs, roots, and shoots of the forest there.
Unemployed rural women can upskill themselves and generate income through Total Health’s tailoring programme. It comprises courses designed in making apparel and jute products. The Aragonda centre, established in 2014, has all the required infrastructure facilities with the latest machinery. Since its inception 499 women have undergone training and 50 have been employed. In Amrabad, 30 women have found employment at the jute packaging workshop.
The use of refrigerators and air-conditioners is permeating the lifestyles of rural and semi-urban communities. Here, there is a large gap between the demand and supply of skilled people who can take up servicing and repair of these devices. Recognizing this need, Total Health started the R&AC training centre in Aragonda for men between 17 and 30 years in 2018. The three month curriculum is in collaboration with Blue Star Ltd, which has provided state-of-the-art training models.
In Amrabad, one of the challenges for the Chenchu tribal people is the lack of livelihood, often pushing them deep into debt. While the skilling centre is situated in the village accessible by road, Total Health also initiates seasonal projects in settlements across the forest. Honey is harvested and strained from both trees and rocks; candles are made with some of the wax derived from the forest; and skipping ropes are made from the sabai grass that grows wild in the forest.
The health of the planet and people are intrinsically linked. Important in this equation is the health of those connected to the soil: farmers, artisans, and those who live and work in India’s forested areas. Apart from our line of sustainable products, Total Health also promotes local potters, bamboo weavers, and other craftspeople by using their products around our offices. We have put up solar lights in Aragonda, and in Amrabad, have joined hands with forest officers to clean the forest and highways off plastic.
WATER AND SOIL CONSERVATION
The Chenchu tribe in Amrabad is being trained in the use of a geographical information system (GIS). GIS-based maps of the forest’s wildlife corridors and conservation hotspots are developed harnessing community knowledge and expertise. They also provide data on the rapid changes in landscape due to climate change (drying of water bodies) and anthropization. Not only will this encourage sustainable practices, it is also a source of income for tribespeople looking to work within the forests and avoid migration.
FOREST GUARD PROTECTION
India is amongst the top 10 countries with the world’s highest forest cover and a wide range of forest types. In tandem with the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature, Apollo Hospitals supports the forest rangers’ health, by conducting periodic health camps, offering treatment to those involved in people-wildlife conflict, and also treating those with forest-related injuries (bone breakage, bites) and illnesses. Upasana Kamineni Konidela, vice chairperson of CSR wing of Apollo Hospitals, is the Ambassador of Forest Department Heroes.