Friends of Tibet

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"A God Given Chance"
(VJ Jose on the 9th Tibetan Medical Camp held at Kochi from June 8-11, 2011)

A Hand in Need: A paralysed person is being examined by a Tibetan doctor during the 9th Men-Tsee-Khang Tibetan Medical Camp organised by Friends of Tibet at Ashirbhavan, Kochi from June 8-11, 2011. (Photo: Friends of Tibet)

A Hand in Need: A paralysed person is being examined by a Tibetan doctor during the 9th Men-Tsee-Khang Tibetan Medical Camp organised by Friends of Tibet at Ashirbhavan, Kochi from June 8-11, 2011. (Photo: Friends of Tibet)

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"For all the suffering beings in this world
May I be the medicine and the doctor
And be the nurse to serve them
Until everyone is healed."

Eloor: "It's a God given chance which I will never miss!" said Josephettan who hails from Eloor, a small island in Kerala — 'God's Own Land'. Josephettan suffers from severe asthma, liver and kidney complaints besides high blood pressure and Diabetics. His family lineage is also not prone to such diseases. Unfortunately all these come from his place of residence — Eloor.

Eloor is a densely populated islet both in the case of people and factories. In just 11.21 km2, about 247 large companies and 37,000 people coexist. These 247 companies are not just ordinary companies. They are big factories producing tonnes of pesticides like DDT and Endosulfan, the substance which was banned globally after the UN-backed Stockholm Convention. From industrial giants like The Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Limited (FACT) and Hindustan Insecticides Limited (HIL) in the public sector and to other corporate companies and small private companies reside in this islet. The waste product generated is not processed but let out into a small stream called Kuzhikkandom thodu. This stream as per World Health Organisation (WHO) and other international agencies is known for its high density of pollutants accumulated in one area. They cause illnesses from cancer to renal, cardiac, orthopedic and many more.

The plight of the so called 'humans' living in this area is horrendous. People are not just living here instead they are living dead. In Eloor, people live on both sides of the Kuzhikkandom thodu are infested with a number of serious illnesses. The term wellness has been out of their dictionaries for long. I am also a resident of this islet. My heart was burning seeing the problematic existence of our fellow beings. 'How to alleviate their sufferings?' was always my quest.

In September 2010 His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Kochi which marked the beginning of traditional Tibetan medical camps at Kochi. These camps from Men-Tsee-Khang provided a new light to the people of Eloor. Though many never even had heard of Tibet they were ready to test the Tibetan medical practices. Many were attracted to the sittings and one could see people from Eloor flocking in to visit the doctors. The patients range from cancer, lung disease patients to asthma and body pain. Many have come whose disease has not yet been discovered. The allopathic school of medicine which they were following till now was not giving as much cure like the Tibetan medicines.

I was fortunate to translate their pleas to the Tibetan doctors who visited Kochi and I knew the background of many of them. Dr Dorjee and Dr Tara have become house hold name for the residents of Eloor. It is because of them many in Eloor like Josephettan are leading a happy life. Many will hail me even in the bazaar and ask about the doctors. Every time more and more people flock in to the camps. Many more are wishing to join the Tibetan medical camps.

I take this opportunity to congratulate Friends of Tibet (Kochi) which is hosting these medical camps each month in Kochi. I congratulate the organisational abilities of Friends of Tibet Campaigners who are able to organise these tightly scheduled camps. I too am happy to be a part of the organisation. Here the patients are not left out but the volunteers are always with them both in their happiness as well as in their sorrows. The residents of Eloor thank the four member team of doctors and nurses who work hard to alleviate the miseries of the patients.

I am happy to be a part of all this as Shantideva had said being a nurse, doctor and medicine to all as being a medium to transact the Tibetan 'wellbeing' to the ones who suffer. Besides it is a god given chance as Josephettan and many others rightly claim.

(VJ Jose is Friends of Tibet Campaigner and the Periyar Riverkeeper. He worked with Greenpeace India for nine years and is the first Riverkeeper in Asia. More about him and his activities: VJ Jose can be reached at:

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Friends of Tibet (India)

Friends of Tibet is a people's movement to keep alive the issue of Tibet through direct action. Our activities are aimed at ending China's occupation of Tibet and the suffering of the Tibetan people. Friends of Tibet supports the continued struggle of the Tibetan people for independence. Friends of Tibet is also one of the principal organisers of World Tibet Day around the world.