I have many issues with the current state of the IVHQ Health program. I was feeling very useless, very disappointed, and very frustrated with my lack of helping and interaction with the struggling people of Faridabad. I still plan on eventually discussing my issues with everyone involved in the Delhi program. But rather than complaining and cutting my stay short, I decided to make my placement worth staying for.
And now I am just about squealing with the excitement of what is before me!
I just submitted a proposal to IVHQ for a grant to help fund my ideal project. In the next few weeks I will be traveling to different schools in the poverty-stricken slum areas to teach them about health. I will be doing seminars that include lessons and demonstrations on how to properly wash hands, properly brush teeth, how bacteria spreads, and basic ways to reduce the transmission of disease. Knowledge is power. Morgan, who volunteers at an orphanage, shared a story with me that some of the girls were playing with a dead pigeon on the ground last week. She told them not to because you shouldn't play with dead objects-especially birds that have diseases-and they said to her "why? It's just a bird." Sanitation is a huge issue here, and if you dont know that drinking contaminated water will make you sick, sneezing on someone will spread germs, or that you shouldnt put your fingers in your mouth after playing in the dirt, then you are going to do it an not realize it is harmful. By learning these skills and making them habits, the quality of life of those in these communities can be increased. Ideally, if my proposal is chosen, I will be able to create health bags containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, hand sanitizer, and multivitamins for all of the children in the school to pass out after my presentation. It will also help cover the cost of creating posters depicting hand-washing and tooth-brushing techniques as well as posters about covering your mouth when sneezing and coughing. I intend on making at least one set of posters to bring with me as a visual teaching aid, but with more resources I could make enough to post around all of the schools to remain as reminders for the kids and staff. According to the website, one request is chosen at the end of each month, so I hope to hear back soon! And if I dont get it this month, I will try again next month since I will still be here.
Regardless, I will be starting my seminars next week :)
Between the possibility of getting this grant, and the fact 4 of us did free check-ups for over 150 students in the local slum school this morning, I am pretty freaking happy right now.
Gandhi once said "be the change you wish to see in the world." Well, world, here I am.