Jeevan Jyothi Hospice, Periyakulam, Theni District, Tamil Nadu.
Jeevan Jyothi is near Theni, a big, busy town with a lot of passing trade and traffic and several slum areas. A few years ago the Presentation Sisters, who run a hospital there, identified the urgent need to address the high incidence of HIV/AIDS. So Sister Anastasia moved out to live in the slums and began to meet the people affected, to counsel and treat them and to run awareness events. It wasn’t long before the need for a more far-reaching programme became obvious. The development of those ideas coincided with a visit by four Miriam Dean trustees in 2002.
The original Hospice building (opened in August 2003) was a single storey with two cottages for children. A second storey was added in 2005 to bring capacity to 40 beds plus a children’s ward. There is an out-patients department in a separate building, and a training facility was constructed in 2008. The total capital cost for the Hospice including its ambulance has been about £100k.
The approach adopted by Sister Anastasia and her team involves physical, psychological and spiritual care, including, of course, dying with dignity. It has extended far beyond this to encompass partners and families (it is common for them to stay in the hospice), education for local communities (often led by enthusiastic young people from within the communities) and as recovery rates improve, assistance to former patients to keep healthy (eg. by providing micro-credit to establish a small business and avoid destitution).
So good is the care provided that, in the few years that it has been in existence, Jeevan Jyothi has been recognised as one of only two A-grade hospices in Tamil Nadu. The training facility was built to accommodate the increasing demand for others to experience the methods practiced.
Those who have travelled to Jeevan Jyothi (which mean light and life) as visitors, invariably speak of it as a place of overwhelming love, deep joy and peace beyond understanding! We feel it a very great privilege to be a part of it all.
Funding in 2020 – £28,400