Medical Seva & Health Initiative: Serving Pakistani Hindu Refugees
"From the abundant colds and coughs due to living in open tents in the cold Jodhpur winter, to psychosomatic conditions, blindness and oral tumors, we were simply overwhelmed by the medical needs of these migrants."
- Dr. Arvind Chandrakantan
The Hindu American Foundation (HAF), in conjunction with the Sindhi American community and Universal Just Action Society (UJAS), the primary non-governmental organization working with Pakistani Hindu refugees in Jodhpur, India, is pleased to announce the launch of the Medical Seva & Health Initiative to serve Pakistani Hindu Refugees.
This Initiative aims to provide at least $16,000 annually to protect and maintain the physical and mental health of approximately 3,000 Pakistani Hindus living in refugee camps and settlements in and around Jodhpur.
These refugees are struggling to survive and live in cramped and squalid conditions, with little or no access to health care or basic medicines. The refugees suffer from a wide range of physical and mental health conditions, such as situational depression, anxiety, psychosomatic disorders, alcohol abuse and domestic violence, high incidence of respiratory disease, hypertension, malnutrition and lifestyle disorders, and infectious diseases. Women, children, and elderly refugees, in particular, remain vulnerable to various health risks and face psycho-social trauma from their experience as refugees.
For one year, $16,000 will establish a health clinic and provide comprehensive medical services and health education program for 3,000 refugees.
- $4,800 provides 12 months of rent, utlities, and electricity for the health clinic
- $3,100 funds an entire year's salary for full time female nurse at the health clinic
- $2,400 provides for 24 medical camps, or 2 camps per month, staffed by volunteer doctors to cope with seasonal epidemics and viral outbreaks
- $2,000 funds an entire year's salary for a project coordinator to manage coordination of the health clinics, medical camps, and health seminars as well as work with local hospitals and government health department to advocate for the health and social care needs of the refugees
- $2,000 creates a mobile clinic so that refugees in camps too far from the health clinic can receive care
- $1,000 funds basic facility costs and medical equipment at the health clinic
- $600 provides training of health clinic staff and volunteers to increase their understanding of refugee's health issues and socio-legal vulnerability in accessing health services and vaccinations
- $120 provides for 12 health and hygiene awareness seminars to provide prevention and early intervention to reduce occurrence of basic health problems
- $50 supports efforts to obtain health cards for refugees to facilitate admission into health facilities that provide services beyond the scope of this health clinic
You can donate online with your credit. Please be sure to select "Medical Seva: Serving Pakistani Hindu Refugees" as your special purpose designation before hitting the donate button. Click here!
You can donate via check. Please write "Medical Seva" in the note line of your check. Mail your check to HAF, 910 17th ST NW, Suite 316A, Washington, DC 20006.
"I feel very sad that to protect our religion we came here...but now we don’t belong there and don’t belong here either."
Due to systematic violence, rampant discrimination, and widespread restrictions on their religious freedom, Pakistan’s small Hindu population has been increasingly seeking refuge in India in recent years. Approximately 1,000 Pakistani Hindus arrive annually in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan, according to local sources, with particularly high numbers in the city of Jodhpur The refugees have migrated primarily from Pakistan’s Sindh province, southern Punjab, and Balochistan. There are now an estimated 400 Pakistani Hindu settlements scattered throughout Jodhpur and other cities in the state, including Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Barmer, and Ganganagar. Many Pakistani refugees have settled in other parts of India as well, including Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, and New Delhi, and there are more than 100,000 Pakistani Hindus living in India.
Although the Indian government has taken encouraging steps to provide long-term legal status to the refugees (and facilitate citizenship applications), the process is slow and has thus far only benefitted a small number of refugees. In addition, the refugees continue to struggle with a number of issues, including a lack of employment opportunities, education, and regular access to health care. And the refugee camps lack basic infrastructure and shelter, sanitation and clean drinking water, food rations, and warm clothes and blankets.
The refugees suffer from a wide range of physical and mental health conditions and the provision of medical services/health education remain one of the most pressing needs. Pakistani Hindu refugees endure a range of health issues, such as situational depression, anxiety, psychosomatic disorders, alcohol abuse and domestic violence, high incidence of respiratory disease, hypertension, malnutrition and lifestyle disorders, and infectious diseases.
Women, children, and elderly refugees, in particular, remain vulnerable to various health risks and face psycho-social trauma from their experience as refugees. The refugees are often unable to utilize healthcare facilities due to illiteracy and lack of awareness, a lack of civil documents required to access basic facilities, and fear of harassment if their status as Pakistani refugees is disclosed.
Since late 2012, HAF has supported projects that have helped to address the refugees’ needs in the following areas:
- January 2013: Hosted medical camp for 400 refugees.
- July 2013: Provided funding for the purchase of 25 army grade tents to house 25 newly arrived refugee families. Each tent accommodated two beds and four people.
- October 2013: Sponsored a project to purchase school uniforms, shoes, backpacks, and notebooks/stationary for 70 refugee children who were enrolled in a public school in Jodhpur.
- December 2013: Provided 110 blankets for approximately 30 refugee families to help them stay warm during the winter.
- February 2014: Spearhead the delivery of 250 solar lamps for 190 refugee families living in the Kali Beri settlement and 60 families housed in the Chopasni camp.
Victims of History: The Untold Story of Pakistani Hindu Refugees in India
This report examines the human rights, legal, socioeconomic, and medical condition facing the Pakistani Hindu population living in Jodhpur, India and provides recommendations for their rehabilitation. The report’s findings represent data collected by HAF over a six day period and are based on first-hand observations.
Released March 31, 2014: Download the PDF here
HAF premiered this short documentary at a Congressional briefing that highlighted heartbreaking stories from a recent humanitarian and human-rights fact finding mission at refugee camps in Jodhpur, India. Please click here to view the full press release. The short documentary was accompanied by the above report which details in depth the findings.