Impressions of Kotalghosha. (Photos © by Peter Jaeggi).
Kotalghosha is Sushil's native Village. It is poor settlement in rural India, 100 miles northwest of Calcutta, the capital of West Bengal. This project helps to develop a better future for Kotalghosha.
In Kotalghosha we intend to create the following:
1. International Sapta Yoga Teacher Training and Yoga Research Center
2. International Yoga Hospital
4. Elementary School
5. Handicraft Cooperative
This is a dream that will come true with your love & support.
"Serving humanity through good health and spirituality" is the motto of the Kotalghosha Village Project.
Life in Kotalghosha
Kotalghosha is a poor village 100 miles northwest of Kolkata (Calcutta) in West Bengal, India and the birthplace of Yogacharya Swami Sadananda (Dr. Sushil Bhattacharya).
Most of the houses are made of clay with thatched roofs that leak during the monsoon season. About 1,000 people reside in this primitive setting surrounded by rice and sugar cane fields. The main street is a 3 meter wide dirt road with potholes in it from the wooden wheels of the bullocks carts bumping along. The side "streets" are narrow dirt paths occasionally piled with freshly cut rice stalks and when people walk barefoot on the paths the rice kernels fall to the earth to be picked up later.
White rice is the main food. It is eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner - huge mountains of it, with only a little beans, vegetables and sometimes fish. Children run around with holes in their clothes because mothers can't afford to buy needles and thread. Yes, there are some villagers who can afford a reasonable lifestyle, but the majority are so poor that even buying soap is a luxury.
Cuts get infected easily and take a long time to heal especially during monsoon season. They need to be trained in basic first aid, health and hygiene. The thing is, even if they are trained they don't have money to buy supplies like disinfectant, Band Aids, pain killers, glasses, hearing aids. And they don't have money for necessary life saving operations so some die before they should - bad karma.
Bengalis love fish and there are many ponds in Kotalghosha. Some ponds have fish and some do not. The ponds never have clear or clean looking water. Water buffalo, geese, ducks, children, men, women, clothing, dishes and vegetables get washed in the ponds and there are no ponds just for people. Therefore one can see people even brushing their teeth in putrid looking water with green and red things floating in the water. There are a few tube wells (hand pumps) in the village, but because the well water is so full of iron with a very strong taste, water for cooking the rice also comes from the ponds.
Many people have gastrointestinal problems and worms. Malnutrition is a problem. A doctor from a near-by town came to examine some of the children and found that half of them were anemic and many were suffering from Vitamin B deficiency which showed up as sores around their mouths and on their faces.
There is not enough money for medicine so when something is wrong a person will leave it until she/he is in unbearable pain before she/he goes to the doctor or a hospital. They don't trust hospitals and feel that they will get contaminated and sicker in a hospital. And in India they may be correct.
A hospital is absolutely essential to the area. I have seen people with broken bones who had to heal without being set properly and a woman died from failed kidneys, a very painful death, because there was no help for her at an early nor late stage in her sickness.
Kotalghosha and the surrounding villages need:
medical supplies of all types
tube wells .
Women work very hard and strain themselves from carrying heave loads of water.
Poor children and their families are lacking medical assistance and many are suffering or even dying from sicknesses that could easily have been prevented with the proper medicine and medical attention.
Since 1996 every year we bought school uniforms for 235 children from two villages, put in four tube wells for drinking water, gave away 160 towels and 320 bars of soap, bought medicine for many people and paid for several medical operations for sick children.
Lack of education and medical supplies, polluted water and poverty are hindrances to a quality life. Yogacharya Dr. Sushil Bhattacharya says, "Health, Happiness and Wisdom are our birth right", but the villagers in Kotalghosha and surrounding area have little hope without our help.
Kotalghosha Village Project Objectives
1. To bring a healthy lifestyle to this village and to the many villages nearby.
2. To build a spiritual and educational center (Sapta Yoga International Ashram) which teaches how to integrate body, mind and spirit through the ancient techniques of yoga.
3. To build an International Yoga Hospital which treats patients through yoga and natural medicine.
4. To build an Elementary School and Orphanage to give the children the best opportunity for quality education and care.
5. To build a Handicraft Co-operative which will create jobs and security to help remove poverty and bring self worth.
Special Needs... All can happen with your great support...
1. Construct Ashram building & Yogic Hospital building so that classes may begin in yoga, children & women's education, health & hygiene.
2. Fund medical operations and dental work; buy medicine and vitamins. (The children are Vit. B, C and iron deficient)
3. Drill tube wells for clean water.
4. Buy school uniforms & school books.
5. Buy warm clothing for the poor.
6. Build houses for the poor who lost their homes in the flood.
7. Micro Eye surgery for the poor's to remove blindness who can not afford to get the operation.
Your Donation in U.S. Funds will buy:
- $20 - Feeds 30 children lunch of rice, beans and vegetables a day.
- $30 - Buys warm clothing for one poor child (school uniform, sweater, shawl and sandals).
- $100 - Feeds a family of 6 for over 1 month.
- $350 - 400 - Builds a new straw or corrugated tin roof.
- $200 - 2000 - Funds urgent medical operations.
- $250 - 450 - Digs a tube well for fresh drinking water for 25 families.
- $2500 - 4000 - To build a simple brick build house for small family.
- $200-350 - Micro Eye Surgery to remove blindness.
Eye checking in Kotalghosha. Cataract is widlely spread in this area and can be cured with a minimum of time and effort.