How it began at Sukarya

We live in an age when charity has become a business and NGOs have been publicly questioned on their integrity. Yet, Sukarya stands alone in its direct and human approach to social service. This is further underlined by its committed approach and its belief in focusing on what’s essential to give back to society. Such a worldview is the result of Mrs. Meera Satpathy’s singular passion and vision.

Sukarya started in the year 1998 with a few acquaintances with a common spiritual motivation, and was registered in 2000 with its head office in Gurgaon. Hailing from Orissa and settled in Gurgaon, Mrs.Satpathy wanted to work for poor and underprivileged women without proper access to hygiene or nutrition, especially during pregnancy or childbirth. The name “Sukarya” means “good work” in Hindi. The foundation of this good work is in Mrs. Satpathy’s belief in being an enabler rather than a provider for her focus group of women and children.

Today, Mrs.Satpathy is a widely recognized activist and social reformer who has dedicated her life to combating child mortality, maternal health and nutritional advocacy among women and children living in the slums of New Delhi and the villages of Rajasthan and Haryana.

The first general health camps in and around the slums of Delhi and Gurgaon were funded and supported by like-minded individual donors. Today, Sukarya works in many more areas – the empowerment of rural women through SHGs and entrepreneurship building (through The Saathi Project), knowledge-based intervention for reproductive health advocacy and action (through The KIRAN project), an intervention study among adolescents, pregnant and lactating mothers to reduce prevalence of anaemia (a contributory factor of maternal morbidity & mortality). It also conducts a community-based health education and livelihood program in the district Mewat, intervenes in the the urban slum-health projects in Delhi slums, and educates slum children in Gurgaon.

Mrs. Satpathy brings a mother and a homemaker’s eye for detail to Sukarya, further augmented by keen entrepreneurial instincts honed as the founder and Managing Director of Pearl Advertising Agency, a stint that lasted 18 years.

Her unfailing vision links the quality of health directly to the quality of society, something that even the most seasoned agencies fails to spot. Mrs. Satpathy’s clarity on the issue is encapsulated in the motto “Better health, better society.” Due to her unique approach, Sukarya is not merely a developmental organization focusing on health, but an empowerment organization raising awareness and giving people the tools to enable them to improve their health and well-being through a better society.

“She has a keen eye for identifying problems, often in an objective manner and has never moved away from her path. Even in the most trying circumstances – be it lack of funds, unavailability of staff etc., she never gave up and rather solved it alone,” said Shipra, Co-ordinator Networking and PR of Sukarya.

Standing against all odds and crossing all hurdles, Sukarya proceeded towards benefiting hundreds of families in Delhi, Haryana, and Rajasthan, contributing to the growth of the nation. Hundreds of men, women, adolescents, and youngsters in these villages agreed, accepted, and supported the cause. In a patriarchal family system where men control all of the economic and social decision making powers, Mrs. Satpathy’s strategy in educating and involving both men and women regarding key health issues and enabling them to make decisions has proven successful.

“I strongly support and agree to what Kofi Annan says – when women thrive, all of society benefits, and succeeding generations are given a better start in life,” says Mrs. Satpathy.

Today, Mrs. Satpathy and Sukarya are doggedly fighting infant mortality and maternal morbidity. Sukarya is Mrs. Satpathy’s brainchild, and her touch will always be vital to its vision of building a healthier and better society.

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