Hearts behind the Foundation: Arti Barwa
March 27, 2021 | Contributed by Arti Barwa
‘Wherever there is a human in need, there is an opportunity for kindness and to make a difference.” – Kevin Heath
My association with the Foundation began in January, 2020. And I feel lucky that I had the chance to care for critically ill children, experience working and meeting with the beneficiaries, before the Covid-19 pandemic hit us and the entire country went into a lockdown in March.
Since childhood, I’ve had a humanitarian bent of mind because my mother is a nurse. I’ve grown up seeing her help patients not just with medical assistance, but providing emotional comfort and support to ride through the storms. And somewhere deep down, I’ve always wanted to be like my mother, making a difference through the work she did.
Ashi Kumari with her mother at Max Hospital, Saket (2020)
When I started my career, it was for disease surveillance, doing field visits in Bihar. After that I moved to Gurgaon for greater exposure and joined Genesis Foundation. Post-that my first visit meeting a beneficiary child is the most memorable one.We had gone to meet Ashi Kumari and her mother at Max Hospital, Saket. Ashi had been diagnosed with Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), in which there is an abnormal opening in the dividing wall between the upper chambers of the heart. Yet, their smiling faces, strength and eyes of full of hope in such an adverse situation was sheer inspiration. I had even taken a small gift for her and she opened-up to me eventually, telling me she wants to become a teacher.
I felt extremely proud that day because I knew I was playing a small part in ensuring Ashi would have a chance to fulfill her dream.
What followed next was the Nalgonda screening camp in partnership with KIMS Hospital, Hyderabad. And even this experience was quite overwhelming for me, because I had the chance to meet so many sweet and innocent children. That day it made me realize, that congenital heart defects are something that’s not in our hands, but providing care for critically ill children and the best of treatment, along with giving them the gift of life is possible through the work of the Foundation.
With the Genesis Foundation team (2021)
I feel blessed to be a part of the journey in the lives of so many children. When I had joined the Foundation, I had no clue about what is a Congenital Heart Defect, what is the incidence of these defects, what are the statistics around it or the fact that every year over 200,000 children are born with it in India. But now I see the outcome of my work with every child that gets a chance at medical treatment.
Coordinating between parents, doctors and then following up post-surgery with children are some of the most encouraging conversations that have kept me going, even with all the mental stress of a pandemic. Nowadays I’m not getting to meet them because of the associated risks, but phone conversations and video calls with whichever patient is possible, gives me innate satisfaction in my work.