Inspired by his mother, Bhandari started treating Kasewadi residents in 1978 when he was only 25. He soon realised that patients steeped in poverty, squalor and superstition needed to be educated in hygiene as well as learn certain other basics if their lot was to be bettered.
Bhandari, who does his work without much publicity, started off by launching cleanliness campaigns. Subsequently, the French organisation Inter Aide funded his activities. Now, with additional help from other quarters, his team of devoted teachers, social workers and volunteers has provided free tuberculosis treatment to hundreds. To arrest malnutrition among slum children, it has developed inexpensive protein supplements using groundnut, jaggery, gram and soya, which helped bring down malnutrition in Pune’s worst slums from 15 per cent to 2 per cent. A team of 25 slum women has been delivering door-to-door healthcare since 1980. SJF also focuses on ante-natal and post-natal care, immunisation and birth control. Counselling by SJF for alcoholism, mental health and HIV/AIDS has been well received.