Anil Kadam, Manager of Appropriate Technology
Anil grew up as an only child in the town of Ahmednagar where his father was serving in the military. He frequently visited CRHP during holidays from school to spend time with his aunt who was a nurse at CRHP and uncle who was a driver at CRHP. Anil was forced to stop his education after 8th grade due to family challenges. When Anil’s father abandoned his family, Anil was sent to live with his aunt and uncle at CRHP in 1978.
For two years living at CRHP, Anil recalled not doing much at all. He neither worked nor attended school, but he became friends with the other kids around his age on campus, some of whom are staff on campus today. In 1980, Anil asked Dr. Raj Arole, one of the founders of CRHP, for a job. He started working in the garage to fix cars used for transport to villages around the area.
While Anil continued to work at the garage for ten years, he was also able to complete trainings and build skills. As needed, he became a driver for the Mobile Health Team for village visits and repaired hand pumps in villages in the Jamkhed block. In 1986, Dr. Raj sent him to Madhya Pradesh for training in cataract eye surgery and identifying other eye problems. Anil soon began to work with the Mobile Health Team in the villages to evaluate the cataracts of older people. On campus, patients came to Anil to prepare glasses prescriptions. Additionally, Anil also learned how to perform X-rays and began doing so for people living in the tribal district of Bandara.
In 1992, Anil went to Jaipur to learn how to prepare calipers with the NGO, Jaipur Foot. Calipers are a type of prosthetic device for polio patients, which are fitted on the outside of a person’s legs to straighten the legs for better mobility. Anil would then fit calipers for individuals who came to campus. In 1993, after a level VIII severe earthquake in Latur, Maharashtra, Anil was sent by Dr. Raj for training to build geodesic homes, which are dome shaped houses that are earthquake-proof. Anil helped build over 150 geodesic homes. “Dr. Raj identified my capacity for more even though I am not very educated and built my capacity with each training I learned.”
Anil also had a family in Jamkhed as he continued to work on campus and raised three children: Sagar, Smital, and Rachel. While his children were growing up, Anil faced personal problems. He became an alcoholic, drinking from dawn until dusk. One day, his son cried to him, saying: “My friends tease us. They insult us and say ‘your father is a drunkard.’ We are being insulted by the community.” After listening to his son’s opinion, Anil decided he would stop his addiction. He was counseled and given medicine, and he stopped drinking after 8 days. He would receive free treatment at the hospital, and was treated well by the nurses working there. To this day, he has not touched alcohol. “Still I do not drink socially. I do not feel the pressure to do so. I am very lucky to have gotten out of addiction; I have observed in society that many people have diabetes, hypertension, and mental illness, but I have not faced any health problems afterwards.”
Today, Anil mainly works at the CRHP Kitchen Garden. He takes care of aquaponics, and maintains everything at the kitchen garden from planting/harvesting, composting, and helping teach community members about organic farming practices. “Whatever I learn while working in the kitchen garden helps people in society learn about organic farming so that it can be replicated to benefit the community to live a healthier, more nutritious life. It is important for others to learn about how chemicals may affect our health and to prevent those effects.”
Despite Anil’s past with addiction, he is proud that he stopped his drinking and continued to raise his children, not only of his own accord, but with the unwavering support of the CRHP community. His children are now independent and financially stable. According to Anil, “CRHP and the Arole family gave me the opportunity to develop my capacity and skills. Whatever I am today in front of you is because of CRHP. CRHP helped me and supported me during my addiction, and the Arole family and this community gave me support for all of my life. This is why I am alive. Otherwise, I would be lost or dead. Because of this support, I am healthy; I am thankful; and I am blessed.”
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