Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Kamala returns home (photo used with permission).
Kamala's mother with grandchild.
The ultimate goal of Shraddha is reuniting patients recovered from schizophrenia with their families. Since 2006, over 1000 patients have been returned to their families. I've just returned from a road trip in Shraddha's ambulance through Maharashtra to northern Karnataka. I joined three social workers in reuniting three patients with their families. The last patient, Kamala, was a Banjara tribal woman who left her people seven years ago and was found psychotic on the streets of Mumbai three months ago by Shraddha social workers. In village after village around Aurad, the social workers asked Banjara people if they recognized Kamala or knew where to find her village. In the Banjara village of Bijalwadi Tanda, a woman called Kamala "Diwani" or Beloved, a common term in south India for those we call mentally ill. Deep in rural India down kilometers of brutal dirt track, we finally tracked down her home village of Nandi Bijalgau .

I was up front in the ambulance with social worker Vikram Shelar and driver Manaram Choudhary and had an excellent front row seat view of the extreme sport that is Indian driving. There were no seat belts. Glad we survived the road trip....


  1. CTW- Sounds like an amazing adventure already! Keep these blogposts coming.
    How are the patients able to maintain their medicinal regimens once they return to their home villages?
    - Mark B

  2. MB - Thanks for tuning in... The patients are given one month's supply of medication. If the family is below the Indian poverty line, they can contine to receive theirs meds indefinitely from Shraddha via mail. Others are referred to the closest district or sub-district hospital.