Health Help International aim to help improve the health of the less fortunate in our world. Read more about us, our work and how you can help.

Leaf cards

Pippal leaf painting, traditional Indian crafts, self reliance, income generation, meaningful work, UK charity, Kerala India

Strathaven Friends of Health Help International

The painting of the leaves of the Pippal Tree is a traditional occupation carried out by the lower caste women in Southern India. They paint them in craft centres or in their homes and they are sold, mainly in the form of greetings cards. The money they earn is vital in helping them to raise their families.

Health Help International supports a number of womens’ groups in Kerela by providing them with the materials, training them in the painting of the leaves and by organising the production of the cards.

Strathaven Friends of HHI supports HHI by organising the sale of the cards both locally and to a wider market.

The designs are generally of birds, flowers and butterflies or of Indian people and scenes but a number of Strathaven scenes have been specially designed for us and other Scottish themes are planned.

All monies raised by us from the sale of the cards is returned to India to help the women continue with their work and to support HHI in its other humanitarian work in Kerala.

To see the range of cards available and to purchase these beautiful cards just click the link here and visit the SFHHI website.


Never before have we headed an article ‘Abracadabra’!  And never before have we signed off a thank you letter with the same! 

It was only when we received news that one of our Strathaven supporters has a particular interest and talent for entertaining for charity, in particular HHI that we asked for more details.  At our request, Billy Gibson, our Stra’ven magician, has forwarded the following information. 

‘I got very interested in magic as a wee boy watching David Nixon on the television, and my uncle Bert who was always showing me tricks was a great influence. I did a bit of ventriloquism, I bought a dummy called Archie Andrews in the late 50's from Ellisdons in London, which I still have. In the mid nineties I started to get more serious travelling down regularly to Newcastle to a magic shop called Magic Box,   I joined Glasgow Magic Circle around 2005. I have been President from 2015 a position I still hold. I like performing both at club premises and to the general public and any donations I get I pass on to charity. Our magic club also does charity work.  At the moment we are in the process of trying to raise around £27000 pounds for a new church bus. Please thank the team at HHI for the lovely letter - I appreciated it’. 

Thank you Billy for your support and thank you SFHHI for sharing such a wonderful story. To see the work of SFHHI , just click this link here and take a look!


Letter from Zambia

We recently received this letter from Pastor Fundi, who is the vice Chair of Trustees of Health Help Zambia.  If you wish to help, we can send out any aid that you give.


Dear Brethren,

Greetings and love to you all in the Precious Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Brethren, we write to appeal to you to consider praying for us and the Lords work in Monze.  Southern Province of Zambia, Monze in particular has been hit by a prolonged drought spell. For the months of January, February and March, 2019 we have had completely no rains in the district.

As a result of this persistent dry spell in the district, many of our crops have been destroyed or dried up.



Due to the above factors hunger is looming in the town of Monze because many of our people have loosed their income and currently there is food shortage in many households. Because of food shortage, people are now made to pay more on food in order to survive.

The other impact of the drought is that we are experiencing a low water supply which has brought about an increase in diseases especially in domestic animals which again are a source of income. Currently some of the cattle in Monze have been affected with food and mouth disease and farmers are not able to sell their animals because of the disease.

Stop press!

We are currently updating some of the pages on this website.  

In the ‘Our Work’ section we aim to give a more detailed picture about what we do in India and Zambia. This will be of particular interest to our new supporters as it will offer the opportunity for them to gain some background knowledge about our ongoing projects.   

In response to a number of queries about how to purchase items from the ‘Alternative Catalogue’, it may now be accessed with ease at the top of the home page and information about how to order and how to pay are also included.   

The most up to date news will be posted as usual on the home page but to read older items simply click on ‘News’.  

Importantly, our ‘Can I Help’ page offers suggestions as to how people might like to offer practical or financial help to HHI.  This is often done through monthly standing orders, legacies from wills, retirement from work collections, birthday collections etc. Of course, supporters often come up with their own ideas and we have heard that this year we will be having our first wedding present! 

The 2019 ‘Lent Prayer Diary’ is also available. This includes interesting suggestions for Fundraising Activities for our Twentieth Anniversary Lent Appeal.

And, for those of us who just like to browse, there’s always the ‘Gallery’.  Well, a picture does speak a thousand words…

Happy Browsing!

SFHHI - Strathaven Friends of Health Help International

Whenever our friends north of the border hold one of their wonderful fund raising events we, without fail, include an update here in our news section.  Well, we are pleased to announce that SFHHI now has its own website which provides up to the minute information and photographs.  As well as all the news about their busy fundraising schedule, on the new website there is the opportunity to purchase some of the beautiful hand painted greetings cards which are made in India by skilled women who would otherwise be destitute. 

Just click this link here and take a look!


Thank you letters

Every week in the office many sincere and heartfelt letters are written to say a huge "thank you" to our wonderful supporters for the donations they send to help those in need in India and Zambia.  We really believe that this is a very important and necessary aspect of our work.

Imagine our delight then when, just the other day, we received four thank you letters from young people in Zambia who, because of your kindness, HHI was able to fund through their education.  

Just click on the ‘Galleries’ section at the top of this Home Page (or here) and read for yourselves what these grateful recipients of your thoughtfulness have to say.  We feel sure that you will share the same joy and delight we felt when we read their words!


Three have a very special day


Wednesday - the last day of the trip for HHI’s two volunteers Edmund and Chris with Carol a supporter. We know they have been busy, hot and on a number of interesting car journeys. They will take their final journey at 6am tomorrow morning to the airport for their flights back to UK.

Why was today so special? The team stayed in the Special Therapy Centre throughout the trip and used it as a base to travel to many individuals and projects funded by HHI. They also discovered new opportunities to help people in need. The one exception was the trip to Asha Kiran Ashram where they stayed for 2 nights last week.

Today, they stayed at the Therapy Centre with the children and staff until mid-afternoon. There were 25 very special children, with many different problems to contend with in their lives; some physical, some mental and in some cases both. There is a very special atmosphere at the centre – lots of love and care but also many ways for the children to improve over time; including speech therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and learning. All delivered with smiles and love. The team walked around   observing the work and how the children responded. Philip does a fantastic job overseeing this work, with a vision to extend and improve the centre. HHI lent appeal has the new centre as one project it will fund with half the money raised (the other half will go to Muumba School in Zambia). If you are reading this and can help financially, look out for the next Tidings or simply contact us.   

Lots of photographs of happy engaged children will appear on the website soon as will some of the video clips taken today. The team served the children their lunch and then joined in a rousing hour of fun, songs and dance.

Three go long haul

Tuesday, a single visit itinerary today. The team travelled north, about three hours drive there and back, to visit an area devastated by floods in August last year. Sandwiched in between the long drives was a walk round a village near Ezhikad which was under 18 feet of water during the flooding. Chandra Babu (Idinjar) was their host for the day, he arrived at 9.30 this morning in a much larger car than usual. The spacious, comfortable seats made the journey quite bearable, unlike the driving!

For a long part of the journey they travelled on a very good road; much wider than most and therefore quite capable of creating havoc on a large scale. There were double lines down the centre for many miles but they didn’t make any difference. The Ministry of Highways could save a lot of money by keeping the lid on the white paint! The road even had rumble strips, yes you guessed it – no effect. All they mean is a bit of a thrill when you go over them at speed. Still, yet again the team made it there and back in one piece.

CDSA charity paid for a table, chair and stool for 175 families affected by the floods. Every house in the village of 310 homes was completey under water and everything was lost. Chandra, acting on behaldf of CDSA,  identified the families who had school children. The furniture provided an immediate resource for them to continue studying at home. For many that would have been the only furniture they would have for some time.  The team visited a number of the families in the village, some had refurnished their homes and others still only had basic furniture and kitchen. In one house, the family dried out the fridge and got it working; they had to get the sewing machine (source of income) repaired; and had since bought a new TV. Their house needed a new roof as the flood washed the old one away.

Three do some shopping

Monday- the day was planned out the night before and the day went largely to plan for perhaps the first time. Tom’s morning started very early, about 5.30 a woman called wanting a lot of money for a heart procedure due today. She asked Tom for 15,000 rupees to pay for the operation. Tom knows the woman, she has a history of asking for money so he went with her to the hospital. The procedure cost 500 rupees! The rest of the team had breakfast at 8am, the usual time, then went off with Philip about 9am.

There was one visit to do before going on to Trivandrum for some shopping and if time permitted, an hour in a nearby toursist park by the beach. It was about 30 minutes drive to visit Babu and Shalama, their toilet had ‘collapsed’. Babu has recently fallen and broken is thigh bone. He has a number of external pins and external  frame to set the bone; he needs crutches to move around. He is a daily labourer when fit to work, think of zero hours contract without a contract! Shamalu appears to have athritis affecting her wrists and ankles. She is unable to work. The outside toilet building is in considerable disrepair with what you could only describe as a temporary roof weighted down with stone and wood. It is sited down some difficult steps outside in the back garden. Their house is on the hillside and they have a reasonable amount of land. The Department of Agriculture have provided growing bags and seedlings for the pair to grow and sell the chillies when ready.

What did the three do on the day of rest?

Well there was some rest, some work and a lot of worship. The church services do last a long time and between Philip, Tom and the intrepid three, they managed over 20 hours of worship. Some in the morning and then in the evening. Edmund and Tom went to the same church as last week and afterwards they helped  a number of people with small donations for food. Carol, Chris and Philip went to a catholic mass and got there an hour early and watched as the people rolled in. There was some rest in the afternoon and some activity. Chris loaded up some photos on earlier blog entries and Edmund discussed budgets with Philip. Some rest followed before the team left for worship.

Evening worship was back at the Banyan Tree where HHI visitors used to stay. It is a new and relatively small fellowship held in the room where women used to do craftwork. Though small in number it was a vibrant service and a number of people asked for prayer. Both Edmund and Chris spoke and Carol led the team in their unique rendition of Spirit of the living Lord. What the locals thought  nobody knows but that may well been their debut and finale in one go. All enjoyed a cup of tea, biscuits and cake after the service and as the team where leaving there were more prayer requests on the veranda. Haloes suitable polished after a day of worship, they returned for Supper. 

Tomorrow is a 'day out' in Trivandrum with some visits too. Watch out for the next update tomorrow.

Good night