Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust helping flood victims in Uttarakhand

Floods IndiaMore than 15,000 people have died in the Uttarakhand floods resulting from a cloudburst on Sunday, June 16, 2013. Thousands of decaying bodies are spread across the valley. There are concerns of an epidemic outbreak. People living in the mountains have started complaining of fever, diarrhea and vomiting.
Many villages are washed away and villagers are spending the nights in the tents. Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust (HIHT) will be concentrating its efforts on them. The Institute has decided to adopt 50 affected villages. We will work for health, sanitation and education related issues in these 50 villages. We do not want to focus on rehabilitation issues because many funds are coming into the State for rehabilitation and reconstruction of villages.

HIHT is thankful to the many concerned and generous people who have responded to our plea. For more information contact pb@hihtindia.org

Contribution details:
To donate funds from outside India, you can send a check/draft made in the name of “Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust,” to Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust, Swami Ram Nagar, Jolly Grant, P.O. Doiwala, Dehradun 248140, India.

PayPal option is available on Himalayan Institute of Canada website, http://himalayaninstituteofcanada.ca. The Himalayan Institute of Canada is a non-profit organization dedicated to the spirit of the straight forward, caring  approach taught by Swami Rama of the Himalayas. Your donations are tax-deductible within Canada These donations will be forwarded to HIHT for this purpose.

You can send a cheque to

The Himalayan Institute of Canada,

47 Geneva Ave, Toronto, M5A 2J9


make a donation on Paypal: c/o susan@himalayaninstituteofcanada.ca


Evolution of HIHT video

The Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust (HIHT) the sponsoring society for HIHT University was founded by yogi, scientist, philosopher, philanthropist, researcher and writer, H.H. Dr. Swami Rama. This video provides an overview of the development of HIHT since 1989.

From the website http://hihtuniversity.edu.in/index.php/workshop-on-guidelines-for-responsible-research-and-good-clinical-practice/
A workshop on Guidelines for Responsible Research and Good Clinical Practice were held at CRI for health professionals. The resource person for the workshop was Ms. Herniette Breunis, Research Co-ordinator at Princess Margaret Cancer Center, Toronto, Canada. The workshop was held between 5th-15th February for postgraduate students and faculty members of various specialties in the Medical College, students and faculty from paramedical, and the Himalayan College of Nursing. The workshop gave an overview of the specifics of responsible research, followed by explaining clinical research, and the phases of clinical trials. Issues like privacy, confidentiality and conflict of interest while conducting a clinical trial were also discussed. Approximately 116 people were trained over a period of two weeks.

Himalayan Institute – Love Serve Remember

After the wrap-up meeting with Dr. Saini and the organizing committee signing 116 certificates for attendees of Responsible Research workshops marks the closing moment of the volunteer work done at HIHT. In eighteen days 5 workshops have been delivered in a time frame of eight days. Days without scheduled workshops were dedicated to meetings, tailoring content, entering collected data, and preparations for group exercises. Dr. Saini has suggested another visit in the future to present workshops to more staff and students and that fills one with gratitude. This was a complete new experience and it turned out to be a lot of fun! On the very last day at HIHT, Tuesday at 9AM certificates will be presented to attendees and there will be time for a final photo op.

 Today’s ceremonial award and literary award presentation was a colorful and lengthy event. Contrary to the time on the invitation the ceremony started an hour early and fortunately Dr. Saini was aware of the rescheduling. Anticipation increased awaiting the Governor of Uttarakhand who finally arrived on the initially announced time. A variety of awards were presented and a steady stream of students, staff, and relatives passed on the podium. The literary and art competition was also open to staff and their families. Award winning paintings, drawings, collages, and photos were exhibited.

Tonight there will be a farewell dinner with Seema, who hopefully will visit in Toronto next spring. One last night sleep in a bed in India before departure at 3:05AM and 20 hours later arrival in Toronto on Wednesday at 12:45PM.

This has been a most remarkable and interesting experience. The Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust is a very special place, the hospital and the Cancer Research Institute offering affordable treatment and the Rural Development Institute delivering programs to the villages based on the Gandhian model of self-sufficiency. Special emphasis is given to women and children. The Rural Development Institute intervenes in the area of health, education, livelihood and agriculture on the core pillars of enabling quality of life in the mountain areas of Uttarakhand. Using a multidimensional approach professionals of the RDI link the services of local to state level and to primary and tertiary care services throughout the entire state of Uttarkahand.

The Toronto based Himalayan Institute of Canada, a non-profit charitable organization, supports the development of the HIHT and offers the opportunity to contribute to this vision project with a donation that will yield benefits both in the giving and in the receiving. Yoga instructor Joy Craighead teaches yoga classes in Toronto and proceeds go to the Himalayan Institute. Information and data are listed on the website.

 Link: http://himalayaninstituteofcanada.ca/

Thank you all for following this journey and for your interesting comments. Hope to see you all soon.


Children on the campus

The campus of the HIHT is situated on 200 acres of land, surrounded by the foothills of the Himalayas, and protected by walls, fences, and gates sheltering it from the hustle and bustle that is going on at the other side. This all is watched over by a plenitude of guards. Housing for staff, post graduates, students, and guests is available within this community and the tiny Daily Needs store has almost everything one can think of. It is Sunday, people work six days per week and this is their day off. Children are playing on colorful swings, slides, and other well maintained equipment in the playground opposite the guesthouse. Everything you see is clean, neat, and safe. Within the fences there is a nursery with vegetable gardens, herb gardens, fruit trees, an Ayurvedic herb garden, and potted plants and shrubs.  Everything that is grown here is being utilized on the campus. This morning the gardeners are loading three wheel bicycles with colorful potted dahlias and other plants, probably to decorate the auditorium where tomorrow the Academic & Literary Award Ceremony will be held. Yours truly received an invitation to the event where Governor of Uttarakhand will be the Honorable Chief Guest.

A dairy farm with some twenty cows that provide milk for the campus is located in the periphery. The milk supply is not enough to fulfill the demand and just outside the campus retail business mushroomed since the HIHT opened its doors. These little shops sell just about anything one can think of and on Mondays and Fridays a vegetable market provides the residents and the people in the villages around here with fresh produce.

Around the dairy farm daily life of the poor is much like in other places in India, in peripheral slums makeshift shelters house the less fortunate. Children play, women are washing clothes, and from inside the brick and corrugated metal huts the sounds of cooking can be heard. Cabbages and onions are growing in a small vegetable garden. The children follow us on the path nod at the gesture of putting something in the mouth. This is another reality and in stark contrast with the neatness of the rest of the campus. One boy has nailed the lid of a plastic container to the end of a stick he is pushing, the boys trailing behind him mimic the sound of a motorcycle and gesture steering with their hands. A little girl puts out her hand to touch the clothes of these strangers. Turning around, holding out a hand, she puts her tiny hand in mine. The heart is overflowing.ImageImage

Saraswati Puja celebrations

ImageThe mission is accomplished and the last workshop, attended by master’s students in Physiotherapy and Postgraduates, presented. The workshop hours required flexibility to allow staff and students to honour Saraswati Puja celebrations several times during the day. Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, art and culture and people worship Goddess Saraswati to get enlightened with knowledge and to get rid of lethargy, sluggishness and ignorance. Attendance at HIHT is mandatory for staff. The Hindu priest performs the rituals beginning with Puja in the morning and concluding with Aarti in the afternoon.  Coincidently walking into the building where the ceremonies take place an invitation to partake in Puja was unexpected and kindly accepted. The priest places a red dot on the forehead but jerking of the head results in two dots as visible in the photo.  Marigold petals are placed in the hands to be offered to the deity while making a wish. Finally the priest ties red and yellow strings around the wrist.

The service center in the same building handles mail and courier services and after the afternoon session the courier of On Dot was there  to accept a parcel that, all being well, will be delivered to two lovely granddaughters in the Netherlands sometime in the next week.  

In the evening we drove to Dehradun in the company of three friends and enjoyed a lovely dinner at Silver Spoonz restaurant. A variety of delicious spicy dishes were shared and the mushroom masala was absolute favorite or maybe the vegetarian kabab appetizer, or …. oh…. everything was so good.

The next three days will be spent wrapping up the workshops, meeting with the organizing committee, finalizing the workshop handbook, and on Tuesday we will be leaving by car to Delhi. Hopefully before then some more sightseeing can be arranged but it started thundering and raining today and the weather forecast is not very optimistic. Visiting hill station Mussoorie is on the wish list but this is quite high up in the mountains and it is probably snowing there now, even though the distance is only 30km.Image



A special Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s day started with a very nice and most appreciated compliment on Facebook from a wonderful son. Thank you dear son!

After 10 days of delivering workshops it feels strange to have the day off, in particular after yesterday’s confusion when students were present for the workshop and the facilitator was AWOL.  Preparations for tomorrow’s workshop needed to be done and walking into the classroom a meltdown was imminent when students were present, big relief hearing that there was a different class on.  So what does a volunteer workshop facilitator at the Himalayan Institute do on a day off? From the limited options it seemed that a pedicure and a hairdo would be just the appropriate diversion. Blond hair coloring products are not available on the campus and the hairdresser was fine with using the product brought from Toronto. The hair salon is located in a car parking under construction and not easy to find. It is a busy place especially on Valentine’s Day. Doctors and students are waiting to have their hair braided, cut, and eyebrows threaded to be beautiful for their special one. Valentine Day is special in India and gearing up there is Valentine week from Feb 7-14. Each day in valentine week has some significance: Rose day, Propose day, Chocolate day, Teddy Day, Promise Day, Hug Day, Kiss Day, and finally Valentine Day. Expectations are high, a lot of love is at stake!

After lunch a consultation with the doctor in the Ayurveda Center was scheduled. History and physical exam was followed by  Purva Karma or ayurvedic massage which includes two preparatory procedures before the main panchakarma treatment named Snehan (Oleation) Swedan (Fomentati Snehan Oleation). Medicated oils, oodles of oils, are applied by two therapists and a whole body massage nourishes and revitalizes the body tissues to allow the toxins to be removed from the cells. This massage is performed symmetrically with synchronized movements by the therapists and is followed by a medicated steam bath (Swedana). The description of panchakarma does not qualify for blogging. Herbal tea and a closing consult with the doctors concluded this peaceful and relaxing treatment. A wonderful day to get ready for the final workshop day tomorrow.




P1010565While quietly working on the computer in the Radiation Oncology Fellows room, thinking today was my first day “off” at the Himalayan Institute, the assistant professor of Radiation Oncology walked into the room to announce that my students were waiting to start the workshop at 9AM! Well blimey!! Dressed in track pants and running shoes and not enough materials for group exercises all that could be done was making the best of it. Today there are 25 master’s students in nursing in attendance and their enthusiasm generated inspiration to improvise on the spot. To make matters worse the projector gave up and improvising turned in to half the workshop. We had a lot of fun with group discussions and a quiz. The second part in the afternoon was uneventful, even the power stayed on! Tomorrow there is no workshop planned and on Friday we will have 25 PhD students attending. The nursing students insisted on a group photo so here they are!