Friday, May 20, 2011

Organizations Meeting Week

This week as been one huge adventure! I got through the tourist stage (for the meantime) and am way excited to start working on projects! We met with the AIDS/HIV Clinic, Nireekshana, on Monday. A doctor and his family who came the clinic were actually from Chicago and had prayed about whether or not they should come to India and open their clinic. They both felt strongly that it was the right thing to do and have created an amazing organization. Not only do they check for AIDS/HIV and supply medications but also have implemented ways for those diagnosed to earn money and have a daily job to help them feel more in control of their situation. The women come and sew every day making jewelry bags, phone bags, and bigger bags and have others who create designs on them as well as making candles. Although this is not the only means of income, through selling these items the organization and those diagnosed are able to earn money to support more projects as well as the families and children.

On Tuesday, we met with the MV Foundation Bridge School for Children. They are a one of a kind organization that is fighting child labor. They find kids mainly located in the rural villages, but could be located anywhere and give them a chance to gain an education or in other words be a "bridge" to get the children up to date with their grade level to get them into a regular school. This gives children who wouldn't of had a chance to get ahead, to become educated and come back and make a difference in their villages. The children there are so cute and anxious to become educated!

In the evening we met with CARPED. I was most excited for the projects within this organization. Many of the building projects will be implemented in Kowdipally. There we are going to be building a community science center, square foot gardens, adobe stoves, nutrition education (apparently the group last year encountered a young lady who stopped feeding her children fruits and vegetables because she thought they were unhealthy for them) so this is a huge deal here! Other projects included missing children, sex trafficking, and hysterectomy awareness. There is a huge problem here where doctors tell women who come in for abdominal pain and other manifestations and tell them they need to get a hysterectomy to fix the problem, which in most cases their problems could have been solved by a pharmaceutical prescription and saved a lot of money. These  women are undergoing these surgeries through unqualified doctors and is a scam to get money from them.

After surgery, recovery takes several months and is a huge financial strain on families because the women cannot work during this period and a lot have gone into debt to pay for the surgery. There is little or no follow up after the surgery and in some cases may cause the women to become even sicker. This can cause their husbands to leave or unfit for marriage due to not being able to have kids. A huge amount of these surgeries are by people my age and even younger who are blindly led to believe it is their only option! This is why I have such a huge passion here to bring awareness of these problems and help educate these girls that there are other alternatives.

Our group spent a lot of time with the LEPRA organization on Wednesday which really opened my eyes. We first met in their main office and spent time getting to know their organization. I must mention how hospitable all these organizations are! Every single one of these organizations offered us drinks, little treats, and some even lunch! They are much more relaxed here and wait until the very end of the meeting or day to discuss business. After the office we went to the leprosy and TB clinic and learned about what they do there and showed us their microscope where they check the sputum sample.

The doctor also had three of his TB patients come in and he told us their story. One lady received HIV/AIDS from her husband who left her right after and then she contracted TB soon after from her weakened immunity. She had stopped taking her medications after two months and as a result she got MDR TB and transmitted it to her daughter. There are cases like these where those diagnosed with TB don't realize that they need to take their medications the whole period and not stop when the symptoms go away. I will work with others in my group evaluating more situations like this and what things could improved to decrease misunderstanding and increase awareness.

We also carried out a one day investigation type information gathering for 2ft Prosthetics (They are a prosthetic leg organization based in Provo, UT) who wanted HELP India to research whether or not it would be worth it to come to India. Some of my team members and I went into one of the local hospitals to ask the doctor who works on the amputees about their process and who they recommend for a prosthetic. The doctor mentioned the factors for amputations in the first place were from car accidents, diabetes and infections. I was shocked to hear about the high rate of diabetes! It has given me the idea of creating my own project on diabetes awareness within the less educated population. I will keep you informed on that.

No comments: