The Mahavir Mandir – located outside the railway station in Patna, the capital of Bihar – was established in the early eighteenth century, and later declared a public temple in 1948. Since 1988, it has been managed by a trust, and is one of the first trusts in North India where temple funds have been predominantly used for philanthropic projects such as the establishment of charitable hospitals and offering monetary assistance to the poor and needy.
Accordingly, the mission of the organization is to serve the underprivileged and provide medical and humanitarian relief. As such, Mahavir Mandir Trust provides health care, education, food and disaster relief in both the state of Bihar and its adjoining states. It has established four big hospitals in Bihar, namely the Mahavir Cancer Sansthan (a super specialty cancer hospital), Mahavir Vaatsalya Aspatal (a state-of- art super specialty child and maternity hospital), Mahavir Arogya Sansthan (a general hospital) and Mahavir Netralaya (a super specialty eye hospital ).
Further, the Trust organizes medical camps, provides free medicines and offers subsidized treatment to a large number of poor and needy patients every year. Every cancer aapatient up to the age of 12 years is taken care of by the temple trust, and the organization spends more than three cores per annum on people belonging to middle and low income groups.
Geographically susceptible to flooding, the state of Bihar, which includes the intersection of Northern India’s three most powerful rivers—the Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghana—is often hard hit by monsoons. Cramped conditions and flood-polluted water caused by regular flooding have made existing health problems much worse. As a result, Bihar suffers high rates of contagious diseases.
AmeriCares India Foundation regularly sends hygiene items to help stop the spread of disease, as well as medicines to treat infections/pain from storm-related injuries and illnesses from drinking contaminated water. These life-saving donations from local Indian pharmaceutical companies also include anti-diahhreals, anti-anemia medicines, anti-dysentery, and antibiotics.
According to the ministry of home affairs, the 2007 floods killed an estimated 545 people and affected approximately 21 million people. Within the first few weeks of the massive flooding, AmeriCares India Foundation began providing water purification tablets and medicines to combat dengue fever, a serious flood-related disease. We also sent supplies to stave off water borne diseases that can contribute to the rapid spread of diarrheal disease, measles, malaria and hypothermia in infants.
When Kosi River levees broke in the summer of 2008, more than three million people were displaced by further flooding. AmeriCares India Foundation immediately responded by sending staff – including Managing Director, Dr. Purvish Parikh – to conduct an assessment of the flood-affected areas. Subsequently, our team on the ground treated patients at several refugee camps, and provided free medicines, medical supplies, nutritional supplements and hygiene items to help people in flood-affected communities. Supplements address the food shortage and restore important nutrients such as Iron and B12—without which young children can develop severe developmental disabilities.