The Anna Jagruti Kendra - The Health Awareness Centre, was started in September, 1989. The combined efforts of two dynamic persons. Ms. Kamal Vichare, Chairperson of 'Strihitavardhini Audyogik Sahakari Sansthan' and Dr. Vijaya Venkat, well known Health Activist and Nutritionist, were the founders of this unique Centre, the first of its kind in Maharashtra and perhaps the whole country.
Operating under the auspicies of Strihitavardhini with Dr. Vijaya Venkat at its helm, the Centre was started to educate, provide, rehabilitate and help people to look after their own health. This ideally being done, without the dependence on doctors, medicines, hospitals, and other 'health curing' systems.
The Centre was created with the intention of providing guidelines for healthy, normal, active living. To care for people and not cure. To prevent and not treat. To look at wellness and not illness. The Centre educates people by generating awareness about correct foods and their role in health management; as also the link between our living habits and its effect on the environment.
The Centre's philosophy - in short - is "HEALTH CARE IS SELF CARE IS EARTH-CARE". The entire activities of the Centre are based on the belief that Health is the inevitable result of healthful living, living that is according to the laws of nature. The emphasis is therefore on Health through Nutrition in its correct perspective, without destroying our ecology in the process. The Centre, in essence, establishes the difference between the creative, regenerative diseases and destructive, degenerate diseases.
As one of the first activities, the Centre started
a Lunch service of
living foods. This was to provide economical, nutritious and sustainable
meals to sick people, working people, those who are old and disabled
or those who are simply health-conscious. There are around 150 people in Mumbai
city, who every month, avail of this service, which is now 5 years old and thriving
well. The Vegetarian Food Plan is designed to supply the ideal balance,
according to the needs of the body.
- Any oil
Only wholesome, natural, fresh, unaduleterated ingredients are used, which includes organically grown grains, cereals, sprouts, and vegetables (whenever available). Special care is taken to 'Make' the food and not 'cook' in the conventional ways, which destroy all the live enzymes and most of the nutrients.
It has become necessary over the years, to provide relevant information about the rationale behind this holistic philosophy. This has been done by formulating our own experiences, alongwith gathering, compiling, researching and editing available material, which has resulted in a comprehensive reference library.
The Centre has been able to do this, with the active consent and co-operation of its co-workers. Around 18 women daily contribute to its activities. For all these women, this experience has been a first. Never before had they worked, earned an income or been provided the security of their health. The Centre, therefore is also attempting to generate more employment, especially for women, in an economically sustainable and healthy fashion.
In its present status, the Centre is involved in a host of activities, prominent among which are:
This experience has enabled the Centre to develop a special programme for children, especially through the scheme of mini meals. The Centre is now equipped to train and provide teachers, parents and children, with a complete health-care system.
It must also be mentioned, that the Centre is
completely self sustained. It
is not funded by any organization - government or otherwise. It works on a
no-profit, no-loss basis with the intention of making people self-reliant,
self-sufficient, healthy and happy. Moreover, it is the Centre's challenge
to provide a space where philosophy and activity can be practised, where
economy and the basic needs of life can be met, and where health and
healthful living, can be experienced.
Dr. Vijaya Venkat