Tuesday, June 7, 2011

January 2011 trip to India by District 9940

PDG Pat Waite outlines some very interesting observations of the changes which have taken place in India between his first trip in 2009 and a second trip earlier this year.

He reports as follows.

Melva and I returned to India in January two years after our first visit there as part of District 9940 twenty member team which in 2009 participated in a National Immunization Day Polio immunization programme in the slum area of Firozabad close to Taj Mahal.  This year we were privileged to lead a group of 32 Rotarians and partners to a similar programme in Delhi.

The team comprised members of the Rotary Clubs of Hutt City, Karori, Takaro, Foxton, Tawa, Wellington South, Welllington North and Takapuna, Auckland.

There were some differences this time compared to 2009 in that we had the opportunity to spend time with Rotary Clubs and see first hand the amazing work that they do with disadvantaged and poorer communities. We saw health programmes where children receive free medical and optical checks, vaccinations, learning programmes where young women from very poor communities are taught over a 12 month course sewing and craft skills.  

At the end of this course each person who successfully completes it and passes the exams will receive a sewing machine and access to a micro credit loan so that they can start a business. Young men are taught computer skills. 

The day we visited this camp where the programmes are held many Rotarians were away supporting 20 young women from the slum areas who were being married that day and Rotary Clubs had paid their dowries! We visited St Stephens Hospital where Dr Mathew Varghese runs a polio ward which is funded by Rotary and where young men and women who have been inflicted by polio have their hands, arms and limbs lengthened, straightened, turned and strengthened so that they can walk with the help of calipers and in time return to a fruitful life. 

Many of the people we met in the wards had not been able to stand up and had spent their lives crawling or using skate boards to get around. To lengthen legs Dr Mathew demonstrated with patients how he had cut the bone and over several months had stretched limbs to match the other ones. All costs are covered by Rotary or Dr Mathew’s personal fundraising! We were so inspired that we raised amongst ourselves over $1,000 at a sergeants session in Delhi and that has matched several times over by Clubs and members so that we can help Dr Mathew fund new equipment.

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