All about us

Our Beginning

Conception Story

Recalling the Journey

“When you throw a party, do not call your rich neighbours and relatives and friends, but the poor, the lame, the dumb, the neglected, who cannot pay you back,” 

This was the sentence from the Gospel which I stumbled across years ago and set off on the journey of exploration in search of the poorest, the most neglected, the last man or woman and child; leaving the secure and risk-free portals of secondary and tertiary care hospitals and walking into the uncharted areas of community health and primary healthcare.

The first halt was in Karnataka in Chamarajnagar district, with the final destination being Kalahandi, Odisha. The fascination with Kalahandi started from the time I read P. Sainath’s ‘Everyone Loves A Good Draught’ years ago. This region, way beyond the back of the beyond beckoned me, although I had never been there and finally I came here in 2013. When none else understood or had the courage to walk with me, Sister Angelina, a senior lab technician joined me on the journey.

Dr. Aquinas Edassery
(Jemma Joseph Edasserry)


The initial one year was a period of intense search and exploration in an unknown and completely inaccessible territory. Selco Foundation (SF) from Bangalore which also wanted to delve deep into Odisha joined hands with me and so started the joint explorations. The team consisted of Ms. Palak Aggarwal, a young development consultant from SF, Angelina and myself. SF incubated the small team and helped in birthing a Society which was christened by Dr. Yogesh Jain as Swasthya Swaraj Society. Dr. Harish Hande, the founder of SELCO was the first President of the Society.

Idea behind the logo

The Swasthya Swaraj logo was conceptualized and designed by Dr. Ashish Changole and it communicates our ideology with clarity. It is a deep yearning of the poor masses for freedom from within and without, from the shackles of ill-health, illiteracy and poverty– towards a people’s health movement.

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When you set out to do what nature wants of you, the universe cooperates with you.