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Inspirational Tribal Health Initiative, Tamil Nadu, India South



The initiative was started in 1992 by Dr. Lalitha Regi and Dr. Regi George, who were searching to be of service to the poorest since 1999. When they arrived in the valley of Sittilingi, the Tribal Community of Malai Ales (hill people), they knew they found what their hearts sought.

Mrs Prema telling the story of the early years of the project

The couple, who live with the Tribals, set up a health clinic to care for them. The first patient was a man bitten by a bear, who walked 20km to get medical aid.  Gradually from a hut among the Tribals, they began to provide care to those dying of malnutrition and dehydration. They helped women find their place of dignity in society by earning a decent living.  

Today, the Sittilingi Project encourages the Tribals to take care of the earth by segregating and recycling waste, by water recycling and by preparing food items for sale to increase income from farming products. They also promote organic farming. Bees are kept for honey and for fertilization.  Natural pesticides and fertilizers are prepared. The Tribals are encouraged to use their traditional medicines.

Sisters watch demonstration on biscuit making

Mr. Manjunathan showed the group around the organic farm, where farmers fix the rates for their produce, as most producers do.  Mrs Prema introduced the group to the hospital and the Co-Optex Textile Centre where “Lambadi” Tribal women do embroidery work on pure cotton clothes.

Seeing the work done by one couple, their foresight in planning for the future of the Tribals was truly inspiring. Their enthusiasm and meticulous planning re-ignites our own passion to empower the poor. 

Submitted by: Mrs Isabel Paulraj