Asraya Activities

Asraya - an all Women's Voluntary Organization, the seed of which was sown by Santha Jose, has now grown into a huge multi-branched tree, capable of providing shelter and relief to thousands of cancer victims and their families. Through their various voluntary activities, Asraya touches all aspects of cancer care at a very basic level - the sort of tender care a mother is able to provide her sick child. Each of the 300 volunteers of this organization is 'Asraya Aunty' to the patients.

Chemotherapy Support

OOn every working day of the RCC, a small group of voulunteers offer warm rice gruel (kanjivellam) to the patients of the chemotherapy ward and their bystanders from the hospital canteen. The voulunteers talk to the patients who are going through the ordeal of chemotherapy and try to allay their fear and anxieties. When they realize that some of the Asraya volunteers who are talking to them have actually survived cancer, they are instilled with the hope that life after cancer can still be beautiful despite the pain and the fear of a recurrence.
In the year 2013-14, Asraya spent almost 52 lakhs for medical aid. Besides this, an amount of Rs 1,40,000 was given by Asraya to R.C.C free drug bank.

Palliative Care

Every day, two volunteers prepare health-mix porridge for the patients of the Palliative Ward. For patients unable to feed through the mouth, diluted health-mix is provided for nasal feeding. A kit of health-mix, milk powder and sugar is given to poor patients at the time of discharge from the hospital. We offer to watch over the patients while the bystander slips out for a quick meal or to purchase medicines. Ambulance services and other necessities are also arranged in case of death. Asraya helpers are a big comfort to those who are left with the sudden departure of their loved one. We try to mobilize palliative care to all terminally ill patients.

Lymphodema Services / Post breast surgery exercises

An Asraya volunteer assists the nursing staff in the Lymphodema Clinic every day. Exercises to prevent edema are also demonstrated. Breathing techniques and massages are taught, arm measurements are recorded to check edema and follow-up appointments given. Leaflets (in Malayalam, Tamil and English) explaining care and precautions are handed out to the patients. Asraya volunteers are trained periodically in the aspects relating to Lymphodema by the RCC nursing staff.

Several patients have been raised out of despair and frustration through the involvement of our volunteers who are breast cancer survivors, and who take extra pains in counseling. This helps to form a support group for patients when they need it the most.

Financial Aid

Asraya gives help to the cancer patients in both cash and kind.

  • Patients with very expensive chemotherapy medicines are given partial payment, which is credited in their RCC account.
  • Every month a minimum of five patients are given the full cost of surgery mainly for breast and uterine cancer.
  • Asraya distributes an amount of Rs. 15000 – 20,000 on a daily basis among deserving patients in proportion to their expenses regarding medicine, food and travel
  • Asraya also helps patients who have been diagnosed in the early detection camps to start treatment for travel, food etc.
  • Asraya provides special financial aid to patients who have been recommended by the concerned doctor.

Pediatric Ward

Provides books, magazines and toys for children and their families during their stay in the hospital.
For Onam and Christmas, Asraya distributes gifts to the children.

Direct Donations to Regional Cancer Centre, Trivandrum (RCC)

Asraya has been a liaison between the hospital authorities and generous individuals and organisations in order to help the patients in many ways. Asraya has supplied many essential amenities to the hospital by identifying sponsors and also extended help in building the waiting shed and maintenance of toilet facilities. We have been able to supply chairs, wheel chairs, tape-recorders, television sets, refrigerators, sofa-beds, food, medicines, clothes, toys, trolleys, magazines and flowers for the hospital wards. We have also helped in obtaining essential equipment from abroad for the use of the hospital and patients. Medical Bridges, a voluntary organization in Texas, donated equipment worth Rs 40 lakhs to RCC. The transporting cost (around USD 3000) was funded by a well-wisher through Asraya .Many individuals have supported our work through monetary and other means.

The Asraya volunteers provide guidance on RCC hospital procedures to the patients and their families. Another valuable service is the information provided on low cost accommodation available near the hospital for outstation patients who cannot afford the charges in hotels and lodges. We give them support and information to help them understand and come to terms with their illness and give similar support to their family.

Cancer Awareness Classes & Detection Camps

Asraya organizes Awareness Classes and Detection Camps throughout Trivandrum and its periphery with the help of doctors and the laboratory staff of RCC. These camps are of vital importance to many people who come in the high-risk cancer category because of their habits of chewing tobacco, smoking, drugs and intake of alcohol. During the camps, medical help for general illness is also made available. Medicines and vitamin supplements are given to all the patients, free of cost. In the year 2013-14, Asraya conducted six early detection camps at the following places :
1. Santhigiri ashram school pothencode
2. Mudavanmugal
3. St. Berthaloma church, Poovar
4. Kadakal Mount Carmel church
5. Choozhattukotta CSI church
6. St. Josephs church Vavood
    We have also organized many awareness camps in and around Trivandrum.

A CD on Cancer Prevention and Early Cancer Detection has been made by Asraya with the help of the doctors of the Regional Cancer Centre.


We are deeply involved in rebuilding the lives of patients/ dependents. Our volunteers tirelessly work to motivate them, and help them set up small business enterprises, tailoring units, grocery shops, and other such income generating activities, thereby, transforming dependent individuals to independent and self- reliant individuals.


We support 365 students financially, with a regular monthly allowance of. Rs 400 -600 , from primary to +2 classes. These students, comprising cancer patients and children of cancer patients, are always in touch with the Asraya volunteers who keep a close watch on their studies and act as emotional anchors. Senior students are encouraged to join job-oriented courses and they are also supported financially and their fees are remitted directly to the institution after proper verification

They are as follows:
B.Tech. 4
BBA – 2
BCA - 2
MCA - 1
BSc Nursing - 6
GNM - 4
ANM – 2
TTC - 4
Fashion Designing - 1
Dialyses Assistant - 1
ITI - & poly technical – 26
B.Ed- 2

In the last financial year we provided an educational assistance of 26 lakhs. Four students whom we supported in their technical education got employment.
Sneha Sangamam is the annual meet of Asraya’s student beneficiaries .Participants of Sneha Sangamam are students who have completed their 10th / 12th , students who are patients and students who are orphans.

139 students attended Sneha Sangamam 2013-14.

Cash awards were given to six students of class 12 and three of class 10 who passed meritoriously in their board exams.
Foster mothers of Asraya personally guide and encourage these children through regular contact.


Asraya provides support in the following ways:

  • Sets up shops, provides funds for purchase of auto-rickshaws ,sewing machines etc. for cancer patients or their dependents
  • Provides financial support for the wedding of daughters of cancer patients.
  • Provides funds for maintenance of houses of cancer patients or their dependents.
  • In the year 2013-14, we distributed 26 sewing machines, gave part payment for 2 autorickshaws, gave a musical instrument for a music teacher, helped to set up 2 small shops and a beauty parlour. We also provided assistance to 9 families in rural areas for goat rearing.
  • We spent an amount of 6 lakhs for welfare. Volunteer Training
Asraya organizes training programs for its volunteers with the help of faculty from RCC. This is essentially to train the volunteers in the area of counseling to deal with the patient’s anxieties and discomfort and to provide counseling and emotional support to cancer patients and their families.

Volunteer Training

Asraya organizes training programs for its volunteers with the help of faculty comprising of Oncology and Trauma Specialists, Medical Trainers, etc. This is essentially to train the volunteers in the area of counseling to deal with the patient’s anxieties and discomfort and to provide counseling and emotional support to cancer patients and their families.

Miscellaneous Services

Provides books, magazines and toys for children and their families during their stay in the hospital.


Christmas Celebrations at AsrayaWe share the happiness of festivals like Onam and New year at R.C.C by providing special lunch and gifts for all the in-patients.