Till yesterday, I had thought that I had joined Vivekananda Memorial Hospital. But, yesterday there was an orientation session for new employees at this organization. And the events made me realize that I have indeed joined, or want to join, Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, the parent organization of VMH.
SVYM's story is very heart-touchingly written in the blog of Dr R Balu (RB).
I am not aware of any other organization which has the story of its inception so beautifully and lucidly laid out. RB's experiences that led him to start SVYM are relatable. And he has made it possible to connect dots from those strokes of inspiration to the concrete structure that exists today.
But Dr M A Balasubramanya nevertheless described the same in a couple of hours yesterday. Some of his words dug deeper than I expected them to go inside my mind. I was expecting him to speak about how they had to undergo a lot of hardships and struggle to reach where we are. He did. But I wasn't expecting to shake my mind and say that SVYM now has presence throughout Karnataka and caters to lakhs of people under education, health, community empowerment, research, training, and ultimately development and achieved this growth over 32 years by not faltering even once from its core values of "Satya, Ahimsa, Seva, Tyaga". It sent depolarizations through some of my old neurons.
We had a brief on organization policies, accounting practices, etc.
After lunch, we went on a long trip to Kenchanahalli and Hosahalli campuses where other activities of SVYM happens.
Kenchanahalli is on the verge of being converted to a centre for socio-economic empowerment program.
And Hosahalli! Hosahalli is a beautiful campus in 24 acres. There is Vivekananda Teacher Training and Research Centre here. And befittingly, the tribal school right next to it. Dr Ramkumar who works there rightly puts it. After years of working in Bengaluru and other places,. they come here with lots of experience and every day they face a new challenge. The tribal kids have their own culture. Their language is different. Their aptitudes and attitudes are different. There is sometimes more to learn from them than to teach them.
Challenges like these, and the motivation to work with principles to overcome these challenges on a regular basis is what makes SVYM truly special
Take this example from Vivekananda Memorial Hospital.
VK is an 11 year old boy who got admitted with Diabetic Keto Acidosis. We were counselling him and his mother regarding the importance of strictly taking insulin, even while in school. And we were concerned about them being not able to recognize and treat hypoglycemia. The mother was in fact very much aware of hypoglycemia and apparently she used to manage it at home using sugar water.
"But who will make sugar water for him at school, ma?" we asked her. She gave a blank smile.
We gave our usual advice. "So, keep a sweet something in his pocket so that even at school when he feels symptoms of hypoglycemia he can eat it".
She smiled and said "My boy is just a kid. He will eat the sweet whenever he likes."