SHARE

 

For the fifth time, Vision Express, a Western North Carolina-based nonprofit, and Rug & Home are teaming up to host health camps in rural villages near Varanasi, India. A team of six volunteers from the Carolinas – led by Rakesh & Dolly Agarwal of Rug & Home – will leave in February to serve in various capacities in the health camps. Other members of the team are:Natalie Adams, Megan Flatman, Emily Perrone. Lynn Turner

Health Camps

These camps are held in remote villages, generally in areas with extreme poverty and where there are no local physicians. Every year, camps are held in three locations. Most of these areas have no running water or electricity, tents and portable generators are a must. With the help of Indian physicians and a special group of local volunteers, 800 to 1,500 patients are treated daily. Most are given a seven-day supply of medicines and serious cases are referred to hospitals. These camps also help with cataract screening for women that could be in need of surgery. Those surgeries are done later at Rama Krishna Hospital at no charge. We again expect to see between 2,500 to 3,500 patients over the three days, 70-90% of whom have never before seen a doctor.

The health camp will include practitioners from a multitude of specialties, ranging from general practitioners to gynecologists, cardiac specialists, dentists, ophthalmologists, and pediatricians. The volunteers taking this journey from the Carolinas will be assisting, observing, and collecting data on the patients that are seen by the physicians. The ultimate goal is the cross-cultural exchange of knowledge and ideas for the betterment of health care for the rural population in India, especially for women and children.

Rakesh Agarawl with clients
Advertisement


Cataract & General Surgeries

The Varanasi area has a high rate of cataract cases some of which are women as young as 40 years old. Cataracts, if not treated in time, can lead to irreversible blindness. In 2017, we were able to help with 750 cataract surgeries and 187 general surgeries. So far, since inception, our physicians have performed over 3,500 cataract and 700 general surgeries, all on women who cannot afford them. Vision Express surgeries are performed at a rural hospital and the current 6 member team will be able to visit the hospital and meet with the patients and hospital administration.

Project Vihaan – A New Beginning

In the past 30 years, India has made tremendous progress. Several hundred million people have moved from poverty and lower middle class to middle class and upper middle class – and that is nothing short of a miracle! Yet, in spite of all the prosperity and upward mobility for millions, there are hundreds of  millions of people left behind. They have no running water, no electricity, no health care and in many cases, no hope. Millions of people moved out of poverty into middle class because they had access to good education – at primary school, high school, engineering, medical, nursing and management colleges. This is the case the world over – availability of good education is the road to prosperity! In the area where we conduct our health camps, the condition of the village schools is appalling.

                                                              
 

In September 2017, Rug & Home decided to do something about this and adopted a village school. The school had rotten doors, broken windows, weak and falling walls, malfunctioning toilets, a dry well, children walking to school barefoot, no book bags and children having to sit on the floor!

In the past three months, new doors and windows have been put into  place, all internal and external walls have been repaired, the school has a fresh coat of paint, a functioning well has been drilled so the children have clean drinking water, toilets have been fixed and the kitchen is functioning. Additionally, all 175 students have new uniforms, shoes, book bags, and each student now sits on a bench with a desk – instead of bare floors.

This is the easy part. Our goal now is to teach children good habits for personal hygiene and healthy lifestyles by incorporating exercise, sports and yoga as part of their daily routine. We also want to improve the standard of education – teaching them math, science and introduction to computers and the Internet. We want children to aspire to become engineers, nurses, attorneys, law enforcement, progressive farmers and entrepreneurs! Giving hope where there is very slim hope and no role models will be challenging. The teachers’ and children’s mind-set will need to be changed. This first school is a pilot project and if this is successful, we will be ready to adopt more – 10, 20 or even 100 village schools!
Dancing as a Way Out of the Slums

More than 8 million children live in approximately 49,000 slums across India. Rug & Home is helping to channel children’s energy in a positive direction by introducing them to dance and music at a very young age. We have supported this initiative for the past two years and are very impressed with the results. All the U.S. volunteers will get to meet and host lunch for slum children and watch them showcase a dance and music performance.

                                         
Cultural Exchange

No trip to India is complete without a trip to the Taj! All volunteers will make the trip to the Taj. They will also get to enjoy a three-day Indian wedding in Jaipur – Pink City and cultural capital of India.

In their travels, they will also see the dichotomy of India, the amazing contrasts between the old and new; the ancient architecture and gorgeous modern high rises in the cities; the worst of living conditions and the beautiful homes and hotels; the multitude of colorful street vendors’ carts/ stalls and the spectacular vertical malls.

The noisy activity of people and animals on the streets and the multiple modes of transportation are incredibly colorful and energizing! These scenes and noises will become life-time memories.

 
This is the easy part. Our goal now is to teach children good habits for personal hygiene and healthy lifestyles by incorporating exercise, sports and yoga as part of their daily routine. We also want to improve the standard of education – teaching them math, science and introduction to computers and the Internet. We want children to aspire to become engineers, nurses, attorneys, law enforcement, progressive farmers and entrepreneurs! Giving hope where there is very slim hope and no role models will be challenging. The teachers’ and children’s mind-set will need to be changed. This first school is a pilot project and if this is successful, we will be ready to adopt more – 10, 20 or even 100 village schools!
Dancing as a Way Out of the Slums

More than 8 million children live in approximately 49,000 slums across India. Rug & Home is helping to channel children’s energy in a positive direction by introducing them to dance and music at a very young age. We have supported this initiative for the past two years and are very impressed with the results. All the U.S. volunteers will get to meet and host lunch for slum children and watch them showcase a dance and music performance.

                                         Dancers meeting the 2016 Volunteers.
Cultural Exchange

No trip to India is complete without a trip to the Taj! All volunteers will make the trip to the Taj. They will also get to enjoy a three-day Indian wedding in Jaipur – Pink City and cultural capital of India.

In their travels, they will also see the dichotomy of India, the amazing contrasts between the old and new; the ancient architecture and gorgeous modern high rises in the cities; the worst of living conditions and the beautiful homes and hotels; the multitude of colorful street vendors’ carts/ stalls and the spectacular vertical malls.

The noisy activity of people and animals on the streets and the multiple modes of transportation are incredibly colorful and energizing! These scenes and noises will become life-time memories.

 

Advertisement