A Health Camp was organised for the residents of Nizamuddin Basti on Saturday, 20th February 2010 under the health-care initiative of Blending Spectrum. Blending Spectrum is a project of The YP Foundation that empowers street children by facilitating their access to education, life skills and primary health and hygiene awareness.
Keeping our aim in mind, which is to create health awareness in the community, we brought in two doctors, Dr. Sood and Dr. Malini, who have earlier conducted various camps and are trained first aiders to discuss ‘First Aid’ with the residents of the basti. We had a group of 40 – 50 people who sat for the camp.
Various day-to-day first aid problems (cuts and bruises, bleeding, choking, nose bleeds, fevers, swelling, etc) were discussed in detail. Dr. Sood and Dr. Malini used simple communicating strategies to make their dissemination of information interesting and, more importantly, impactful. For example, they used a dummy to demonstrate the ‘Heimlich Manoeuvre’ for chokes and positioning of limbs during bleeding; charts and white board to emphasise important points; child subjects to exemplify how accidents occur and how they can be dealt with efficiently.
There was a lot of input from the residents regarding remedies, some of which were correct while others were not. All view points were heard and explanations for each were discussed. People were very enthusiastic about getting knowledge of how to treat day-to-day health issues; many posed personal problems which were discussed as examples for the rest of the residents as well.
A major achievement was that the myths regarding certain treatments were cleared. This was a big step forward in enabling efficient self-care within the Nizamuddin Basti.
At the end of the camp, some basic first aid amenities like band-aids, ointments, cotton wool, ORS, paracetamol, etc were distributed amongst the residents. The proper usage of each was explained thoroughly to prevent any misuse. The camp covered basic first aid information and received a positive response form the residents of the basti.
The camp will be followed up by team volunteers who will continue with the health and hygiene education classes that we conduct on location, with an increased focus on motivating and engaging the community and enabling the children to access local affordable basic first aid healthcare services.
Blending Spectrum is a project of The YP Foundation that connects urban young people through a peer-to peer community interaction with street and slum children, with the aim of increasing sensitivity between street and slum children and the urban youth. Blending Spectrum provides healthcare and non-formal education (including Life Skills Based Education), building the potential of children with limited access to opportunities.
The Blending Spectrum Management Team, or the BSMT, is the core group of 5 young staff members who execute and develop the project’s goals on 2 locations in Delhi. The project was founded by 17-year-old Manka Bajaj in 2006 and has also been run by Rohanjit Chaudhry since. Aditi Kaul, a 3rd year student at Delhi University, currently heads the BSMT.
I wrote :
“Because I can. Because I want to be a child again. Because I want to learn how to work with 125 children and understand their quirks, their spectrum of emotions and their thirst for knowledge. Because I want to help them.
Because I want them to help me. Because I am an artist a sportsman or just a person who wants to impart their skills to children. Because I want to have fun! And just play with them. To understand how individuals from different backgrounds are beautiful and interesting and driven, kind and selfless yet naughty and angry and fun. To understand them and let them understand us.
Why me? Because every you can make a million me’s and all of us together want to make a difference.”
Plain cold water that allows you to jump and splash, that gets you so wet that you get goose bumps, get refreshed and don’t care about language or age, you have fun.
After much deliberation at Blending Spectrum, we decided to have a day of pure fun, and introduce paints to the children we work with. It’s a big achievement for us in the project. We NEVER take paints. But the simple logic of water+ paints+ fun+ colour = us won out. We also had interns Hannah and Jess work with us from the University of Birmingham observing how we taught life skills and crafting geography lesson plans for class. Taking a break with colours seemed like a super fun and slightly ridiculous idea.
When I joined The YP Foundation a few months back, I didn’t know what to expect. I had never volunteered with any not-for-profit organizations before and there was a nagging fear in my mind that I’ll soon loose enthusiasm (the way I usually do whenever I undertake something) and that would be the end of it. Moreover, constant insinuation by “cynics at large” about how NGOs are sneaky little organizations and it would be a foolish mistake to put my trust in them, made me a bit of a skeptic. However, after much deliberation, I decided to give volunteering a shot.
Living in a nation like India, it’s a banal sight to see little kids living, playing and begging on the streets. But, actually knowing their life stories without prejudices and accepting them just the way they are, is a different thing altogether. This was precisely the reason I chose to be a part of Blending Spectrum which works with street and slum children. Volunteering with BlenSpec gave me an opportunity to work with their partner NGO, Music Basti, which was a pure delight.
The visits to the location were always good fun. We used to go to Kilkari which was a home for children-at-risk (only girls) at Kashmere Gate. Now, there is one thing which I completely detest and that is human touch. Perhaps I am exaggerating but seriously, I do not like hugging others. There I was, visiting the location for the very first time and all those girls came running towards me and wrapped their arms around me as if they had known me forever. And finally this warm, fuzzy feeling dawned upon me which I didn’t quite understand but I knew that it was a good start. Being with those kids made me realize that we aren’t very different after all. We may have varied preferences and our very own set of dreams, but eventually, each one of us crave for love , support and a dignified life.
Workshops conducted by Music Basti proved beneficial to both the kids as well as the volunteers. We got a glimpse into their lives which they were happy to share. All of us interacted, played, sang and participated in the activities and all in all, just had a really good time. Finally, there is one thing that I learned from those kids and it was being open and accepting.
Even though I still don’t understand the many facets of their lives and the ordeal they had to go through, their wide grins and toothy smiles were an assurance that maybe, in my own small way, I brought a smile on someone’s face and that was worth a million bucks. I hope that I can do the same, if not more, for the kids (at either locations of BlenSpec- Nizamuddin and Qutub) that I’ll be working with in the coming days.
I have no intention of invoking sympathy in the hearts of others for those kids because the truth is, no matter what we do for them, they’ll always end up teaching us more about who we are and all that is really important.
Volunteer- Blending Spectrum