St. Jude India ChildCare Centres

Focus: Education, Health, Children and Youth, Homelessness

CHILDREN with cancer face years of treatment. St. Judes provide safe, clean accommodation near hospitals in Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Kolkata for families who travel far to care for their sick child.

Around 50,000 children are diagnosed with cancer in India annually. Yet only 10,000 travel to cities to receive low-cost, high quality treatment.

According to St. Judes CEO, Usha Banerji: “Childhood cancers have a very high cure rate [70-80%]. However, many families abandon therapy because they have difficulty finding suitable accommodation.”

St. Judes provide a cost free, cheerful, infection-free environment and proper nutrition for needy families - who often resort to sleeping on the street near their child's hospital - to ensure that their sick wards are not vulnerable to secondary infections from poor living conditions during in or outpatient treatment.

St. Judes' goal is for every child with a life-threatening disease to be treated at a hospital with a childcare centre nearby so that the centre can help “facilitate the recovery of children [so that] every child will realise his or her potential and transform their lives”.

A patient’s mother explains their journey: “When we were asked to go to Bombay for treatment, our first thought was, ‘where will we stay in a city like Bombay?’. We were told that instead of living on the street we should try for admission at St. Judes; here we would get all the support and our child would be safe from infection.”

Deepak is one of many success stories. Diagnosed with blood cancer in 2010 while in 7th standard, today he has finished treatment, is off medication, and only comes for routine check-ups between his college studies. Dishka, who came to St. Judes in 2008, was cured of Dysgerminoma - a rare tumour of the ovary - and is now in her 2nd year of a computer engineering degree.

At age nine, Surodip spent six months at St Jude in 2015-16. He was afraid of losing an academic year due to his illness, but with the help of St. Judes' teachers, he surprised his teachers back home by completing his annual exam and forgetting nothing despite his extended absence and months of rigorous treatment.

In 2006 St. Judes began with one centre with eight units. They can now host 388 families in 32 centres across India. Their vision is to have 1000 units by 2021. They need your help to achieve this ambitious goal - to give children access to health facilities that will give them a fighting chance for survival.

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CURRENT PROJECTS
Skill Development

PARENTS whose children are admitted to St. Judes’ centres have not only left their homes to seek treatment for their child, but also left behind their livelihoods to save their child’s life. St. Judes provide psychosocial support conduct recreational and stress relief activities and facilitate group discussions and counselling sessions. They also empower parents with occupational skills, such as literacy, computer skills, automobile repair, AC and refrigerator repair and garment stitching.

Music Therapy

MUSIC therapy is proven to add to the overall quality of life, help cancer patients respond to treatment, reduce pain, relieve nausea and vomiting, manage anxiety and fatigue, relax, facilitate emotional expression and provide social support. St. Judes promote the life-changing benefits of clinical music therapy and provides weekly sessions for St. Judes’ young patients. Children are able to express themselves and their emotions through the therapy and take their mind off their illness.

Transportation

FOR many families, travel can be daunting and cost-prohibitive from the St. Judes center they reside at to the city hospital three-four times a week. St. Judes offer families transportation to and from the hospital to ensure that the children are able to attend all appointments and therapies and reduce the chance of abandonment by parents overwhelmed with their child’s diagnosis. The removal of this obstacle allows children to conserve their energy and focus on overcoming their disease.

Nutrition

GOOD nutrition is vital to ensuring a child's recovery. To meet this need, St. Judes have partnered with paediatric dietitians to find suitable supplements and food for their guest families in order to provide a more holistic support. Upon admission, each family is given a 'starter pack' of the grains, pulses, and spices needed for a balanced diet, plus weekly nutritional supplements. SJICC provide each family with a stove and utensils as well as training on how to maintain a healthy diet.

Education

IN an attempt to help young patients enjoy all aspects of childhood while undergoing treatment, St. Judes implement innovative, inclusive educational programmes so they can learn without pressure. Rather than a traditional curriculum, St. Judes try to broaden children’s horizons by introducing them to universal themes and concepts that will help develop lifelong skills, such as critical thinking and logic, and build their confidence when reintegrating into their classrooms after treatment.

About St. Jude India ChildCare Centres
Testimonials

Music therapy complements [the kids’] therapy. They may be in some pain and discomfort, but when they go down to their musical therapy classes the smile on their face lights up. The kids say, ‘when we’re in class, we feel like we’re cancer-free’.

Brett Lee, former cricketer, Australia

St. Judes fill a crucial gap of providing free accommodation and holistic support to children during treatment.

Dr. Rajendra Badwe, Director, Tata Medical Centre, Mumbai

The work [at St. Judes] is truly world-beating. You’re a one-off and I admire you hugely.

Dr. Miriam Stoppard, parenting and childcare expert, U.K.

I have found a home away from home at St. Judes. I used to live in a nuclear family earlier, but at St. Judes, I have found a community - a larger family, who are always ready to help my son and me.

Keshav Kushwaha, Parent, St. Jude India ChildCare Centres

THE TEAM
  • Ashutosh Pednekar Chairman & Treasurer
  • Manisha Parthasarathy Vice Chairman
  • Usha Banerji Director
  • Asha Kamble Admin. Assistant
  • B. Baleeshwaramma Center Supervisor, Hyderabad
  • Deepali Pankaj Center Manager, Jaipur
  • Mehak D. Center Officer, New Delhi
  • Sandeep Kharat Occupancy Manager, Mumbai