Abha Light College of Natural Medicine is more than just a college. It’s part of the Abha Light Foundation (ALF http://www.abhalight.org) and represents an extended family of teachers, students, graduate practitioners, satellite clinics, supporters and friends. ALF is one of the oldest permanent projects of “pioneering” (our term) homeopathy in Africa.
ALCNM grew from community classes in the slums in 2000
Early classes at our first clinic at Kariobangi Slum, Nairobi
… to its present form as a College of Natural Medicine:
Our present classes in the garden of our current premises in Nairobi
On the face of it, we are a very small, struggling school and, along with the rest of the ALF, ever on the brink of financial disaster. Often, we feel it’s only through Cosmic Grace that we manage to pull through each month. But we ever remain vibrant and inspired by the work of bringing homeopathy to the people and by the daily miracles of homeopathy we witness in our work.
We offer diplomas in homeopathy, reflexology, herbal medicine and naturopathy (Indian tradition). Thanks to our patron, Dr. Robin Murphy, we are affiliated and get advisory support from the Centre of Homeopathic Education (UK). They have approved our course and have authorized us to offer a CHE diploma. On the Naturopathy side, we offer a Diploma from the All-India Natural Life Association.
We now conduct a 2½ year course. Our average class size, each year, is about 10 students, with ages ranging from 18 – 60. Up until now, we’ve trained about 60 Kenyans and 1 Ugandan, primarily in homeopathy. Some students have specialized in other fields such as Naturopathy, Traditional Herbal Medicine or Reflexology. Most students are from the villages or urban slums and their course is subsidized by sponsorships, but there are a growing number of middle and upper economic class students taking interest in the course. After training, we encourage them to return to their communities. This is necessary in order to establish homeopathy as a medicine accessible to everyone, rather than remaining elite in the cities. We also have a few distance students learning homeopathy from other parts of Africa.
The school can’t be separated from ALF as a whole. The college’s former students are now experienced homeopaths and run their own clinics. In turn they host students who come for their practical internships. ALF raises funds, as needed, to support graduate students in opening their first clinics. ALF subsidizes these low-cost clinics with free medicines. Otherwise the clinics and practitioners are independent and autonomous, working together only on special projects as a loosely affiliated group.
The work of ALF itself goes beyond the College and we are involved in many activities. We are, time to time, approached to offer homeopathy and health-care services by special-interest donors who support certain groups or projects, for example, an HIV self-support group or an orphanage. In that case, any ALF-affiliated homeopath may be asked to take charge of it. Right now, we are involved with two orphanages and one HIV-support group in this way.
Over the years we have partnered with other local and international groups to provide healthcare services in their projects. One of our oldest partnerships is with a Catholic medical mission. Corboni Sisters provides services to HIV infected persons in one of Nairobi’s largest slums. The project opened a “natural” section in 2005 with our help and we provided a homeopath and advice on their natural protocols for HIV. (see about ALF’s book, “Great Health, Naturally!” at . Now, three of the Corboni’s nurses are trained in homeopathy and are fully in control of that section of the Corboni project.
ALF has established a pharmacy in order to be able to directly supply homeopathy to homeopaths and the public. We have developed certain complex products that are reaching the public, and help provide a small income for the Foundation. Connecting our pharmacy with the clinics, we are interested in research of various kinds.
Our faculty members include:
Didi Ananda Ruchira, principal, instructor in homeopathy
Dr J.K. Wanjeru, instructor in Traditional Medicine
Shem Ochieng, instructor in Health Sciences
Evenlyn Migue, instructor in Nutrition and Homeopathic Materia Medica
Arvind Pathak, instructor in Naturopathy
Jaqui Morris, instructor in Reflexology
Here’s a few words from our currently oldest student, who reflects the spirit of our college:
“Having practiced African Traditional Medicine for nearly 40 years, I got to know about homeopathy through the media. After that, I found an ad in the newspapers for the College. I decided to study the course. What I have found is that most herbal medicines have been included in homeopathy. In herbal medicine I’ve been using large doses but I’m continually amazed by the smallness of the doses of homeopathic medicines. This has only added more interest and urged me on to continue studying at the College. I hope to continue with my studies even after the College and if possible, will join the campaign to make the populace realize that homeopathy can have an impact in healthcare and life.” Hannibal J.C. Mburu, age 64, is a African Traditional Medicine practitioner qualified with a Certificate in Traditional Medicine, Pharmaceutical Tech (NTI, Kenya), Dipl Afro-Medicines (BFS-UK)
Hannibal Mburu, our oldest student
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
In this issue, the articles are dancing somewhat to a different beat. All of the articles are very much connected to the African experience of homeopathy. You will be reading from the perspective of what it is like to be working in Kenya and the challenges of pioneering homeopathy as a “new medicine” in the public eye. We felt, at ALCNM, that this is the opportunity to bring you, the reader, closer to Africa.
The contributors are drawn from our Abha Light faculty, clinical supervisors and affiliated practitioners:
Didi Ananda Ruchira, director-founder of ALF and ALCNM. Didi is the primary instructor in homeopathy at the college.
Dr. J Claire Niala, ALF board member.
Steve J Smith, ALF board member, overseeing 3 major clinics run by ALCNM graduates at Manyanga village, Kambimawe village and Ikutha village.
Julius Wambua, ALCNM graduate, clinic manager of the Kambimawe clinic and helps supervise ALCNM student interns.
Rachael Mutinda, ALCNM graduate, clinic manager of Kibera slum, Nairobi clinic and sometimes supervises ALCNM student interns.