Thursday, August 1, 2013

Kaohsiung Medical University (KMU) Health Project

On Monday, July 15, a student from Kaohsiung Medical University (KMU) gives a young boy an oral examination in Bambala, Kherwara Block. Using large models and poster presentations, the students taught local residents the importance of teeth brushing, hygiene, and good nutrition.  
Nine students from the KMU are working in Kherwara block this month to educate the village residents about common diseases and health best practices. The university's immersion internship program has sent medical students to ALFA Educational Society in Karawada twice in the past year. The students conduct surveys, health assessments, and workshops to improve knowledge and health, as well as provide a platform for intercultural exchange. 
The medical workshops cover the topics of malaria, AIDS, influenza, Japanese encephalitis, cholera, tuberculosis, hepatitis, oral hygiene, and hand washing. The interns conduct these workshops and health assessments for the ALFA staff and local volunteers, as well as in local households and schools in Karawada and the surrounding villages of Padela, Bambala, Barodwara, Futala, Kharidiwara, Dabachia.     By the end of the month, the KMU volunteers will have educated more than 50 families, 175 students, and 12 youth changemakers at ALFA. 
This summer, the KMU students have expanded their curriculum to include more in-depth surveys of the families they visit. By assessing their crops, income, education level, labor, and diet, the students can better understand the health conditions of the residents. They are also conducting local martial arts classes in the evenings. 
"It is so rewarding to see this program develop," says Cheng Ting Wu, a a third-year KMU student volunteer returning for his third time at ALFA, "each year we discover nuances that affect local health, and develop deeper relationships with the local volunteers; their motivation inspires me to work harder and learn more from the people here."
A special thanks to Sim-Sim Nursing Foundation and the Taiwan  Liver Research Foundation for making this collaboration possible.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mahila Shakti Silai Sangathan (Organization of Strong Women Who Sew)

Women's Empowerment Initiatives:

During the month of July 2013, ALFA has implemented the project Mahila Shakti Silai Sangathan (MSSS). A women's empowerment program, MSSS creates a micro-finance opportunity for 15 women participating in tailor-training classes to sell products in Udaipur. The combined benefits of education, capacity building, and micro-finance are used to mobilize women to gather and engage in a common space, sanjha manch. By creating a community around the teaching and learning of a valuable craft, MSSS seeks to help women build a sense of social as well as financial autonomy. The project is also designed to be sustainable by creating leaders within the group of women who can teach, organize meetings, as well as manage their growth in the future. It will leave the women with many opportunities to market and sell their products and services, as well as to meet collectively for this purpose on a regular basis. The women have all contributed a small fee to participate in the workshops, money with which they have bought a group sewing machine to be shared by all.

The classes began July 1st, 2013. The women started by cutting salwar kameez from newspaper, practicing over and over again until the cuts were straight and the measurements were accurate. In the second week, the women are taking turns practicing threading, pumping, and sewing seems with their new machine. They have shown extreme pride in their first garments! MSSS sees this batch of women as only the beginning. ALFA and the community of women in Karawada are determined to continue to teach and practice the art of tailoring, as well as the local embroidery practice called tanka.

As more women participate, the group will be able to acquire more sewing machines, facilitate regular workshops in an MSSS specific sanjha manch, and build up a sense of identity around a strong community of women who sew.

Intern coordinator: Matea Fish