Unnathi Healing was started by Dr Saraswati Hegde in 2001 with the sole purpose of providing young minds, mainly adolescents, with mental and emotional support.
The NGO, which is based in Bengaluru, is managed by Dr Hegde who is a pranic healer by profession. She believes that through spiritual healing and mental and emotional counselling, children, who are in their formative years can go a long way and make India a better country since they are the future of the nation.
Dr Hegde took the next step with her NGO when she started the Build India Movement in January of this year to reach out to students in schools across Karnataka and provide them with a safe space where they can open up and seek help if needed.
The Build India Movement's main aim is to fight depression, anxiety, and suicidal tendencies among teenagers. Dr Hegde believes that due to the fast-paced world these characteristics are high among this generation's teenagers. However, she says that while there are vices, this generation teenagers are among the smartest and are emotionally in touch with themselves.
Dr Hegde said that she named this initiative as Build India Movement since she did not want the name to sound clinical which might intimidate the children. "Well, with this, we are building India since we are helping the future fo the country to become better people."
To make the sessions and conversations easier, college students, mainly medical ones, have been recruited to talk to the teenagers.
"This solely a volunteer basis," Dr Hegde said when asked how they recruit the college students to go to school and talk to the children there. With this, Dr Hegde aims to improve the performance the students, increase the camaraderie among classmates and friends, and also teach the children how to face and overcome challenges.
She added, "The volunteers are then given rigorous training before they are sent out on the field. Since they are all medical students, we ask them to wear their white lab coats since it tends to instil a sense of confidence in the children and make them more comfortable with opening up on the problems."
Dr Hegde said that this is only the beginning and they have a very long way to go. "We have only spoken to 10,000 children in Karnataka now. There are lakhs more in the state and we want to reach out to every one of them. We want to let them know that they aren't alone and provide a platform where they can share their feelings and fears without being judged and made fun of."
When asked if she plans on spreading this initiative to other states, Dr Hegde said, "We have an MoU with the Karnataka government's education department on reaching out to schools, public and private and help counsel children. We want to focus on Karnataka and then see if we can expand it to other states."
The next plan for the Build India Movement is to recruit college students from other fields such as engineering or arts. Hegde believes that the volunteers will not go back empty handed since they will learn leadership skills, how to communicate with people who are not from similar backgrounds, and they learn empathy, which Dr Hegde feels is vital for everyone.