The health camp was held on 18th April 2017 from 10am to 3pm. The doctors and para-medic team from Aundh Surgical Hospital (Pune) examined the patients. Specialist doctors: Dermatologist, Gynecologist, Pediatrician and General Physician conducted the medical examination and distributed free medicines to them.
Ms Priya Sonawane (DBDS- Pune, social worker) who had done the outreach for this health camp went house to house informing about the people about this camp; she commented “people of this slum have welcomed the activities of this project by Don Bosco and are really happy about it.” People were extremely grateful to Don Bosco for giving them such a quality medical assistance free of cost at their doorstep.
Matunga (Mumbai), 12th April 2017: The Don Bosco Development Society (DBDS) organized a 5 days cancer awareness and detection camp for women residing in the slums of Mumbai. Part one of this camp was held from 10th April to 12th April at the Provincial House in which 153 women were screened and the second part of this camp will be held from 20th April and 21st April at the same venue. The camp was held in association with Indian Cancer Society.
Speaking at the inaugural function Fr. Rolvin D’Mello (Executive Director- DBDS) highlighted the commitment of DBDS towards ‘health for all’ and importance of healthy women in a family. 153 women from most poor families in the slums were screened for ENT examination (including indirect laparoscopy) and Comprehensive Gynaecological examination with Pap smear by specialized team of doctors and paramedical staff. All the tests and services were provided free of cost.
The two staff of DBDS: Basanti Solanki and Ranjana Gangurde did the entire ground work for this camp with the help of Ms Surekha Pednekar (Coordinator – DBDS). Sharing her experience Mrs Gangurde said “Cancer is mostly affecting poor people who have no information on this issue. Our effort is to create awareness and develop positive mind-set among women in slums.” Mrs Pednekar assured the women that the detailed report will be made available to them in next 10 days and those affected will be referred to hospital for further treatment.
Ms Kanchan Khandare who underwent cancer examination test expressing her satisfaction by saying “I had heard so many cases of cancer in my locality that I was deeply scared. Thanks to Don Bosco that they organized this camp. I acquired knowledge and underwent free cancer check-up.”
DBDS (Koregaon Park) team identified the participants after surveying the income generation needs of Self Help Groups women in the slums of Pune. This training was held for 4 days; 14 different types of spice making were taught to participants. Mrs Rajani Attarde and Mrs Ramani Pillai were the resource persons, from the organization of Kasturba Mahila Khadi Gramodyog Vidyalaya, Pune.
The spices taught were: Goda Masala, Sunday Masala, Garam Masala, Pulav Masala, Pavbhaji Masala, Chhole Masala,Sambar Masala, Tea Masala, Chat Masala, Kanda lasun Masala, kolhapuri Masala, kachhi dabeli Masala, Jaljira and Malvani Masala. The SHG women were very happy after completing the training and would soon venture into small business of making and selling spices.
“Most people from the slums of Mumbai are really not aware about Hepatitis-B and the possible vaccination – hence we at DBDS are committed to create this awareness,” said Fr Rolvin D’Mello (Executive Director – DBDS). Ms Tara Raghunath (Executive- United Way) the resource person; began with an interactive session explaining the nature of virus of Hepatitis-B. She further explained the various symptoms, mode of transmission, vaccination, treatment etc.
The session ended with the vote of thanks proposed by Surekha Pednekar (Coordinator – DBDS). The participants went back enriched from the session.
Dr. Amruta Bkashi and Dr. Vijyalaxmi Sawant and a team of Para-medics examined the beneficiaries and free medicines were distributed to patients. The health problems identified were eye infections, rheumatic arthritis, anemia, cough, cold, migraine, worms etc. DBDS- Chinchwad has been conducting health camps in slums every month.
Nine volunteers from AXA also participated in the health camp. The volunteers were extremely helpful as they helped in registration of people, arranging facilities, putting up banners, visiting slums and informing people about the health camp and managing the crowd. Few patients were also referred to Lokmanya Hospital for further treatment.
Ms. Lalita Choudhary (Project Coordinator) shared the progress of health activities as said “This AXA funded project which focuses on education, health and income generation is now well accepted by people in the slum communities and we hope to get better and better community participation in future.”
These models and projects are created by the students of Don Bosco High School (Matunga) as a part of school curriculum. In a sense this is a “student helping a student” activity. On one hand it promotes curiosity, creativity, problem solving, team work, etc in students on the other hand it helps in better understanding of scientific and natural phenomena, aids teachers is communication, explanation and evaluation.
Fr Rolvin D’Mello (Executive Director – DBDS) said, “We are extremely grateful to the students of Don Bosco Matunga; if not of their efforts, the underprivileged kids from the slums would never have access to such good project models for their learning.” So far DBDS has donated these models to Sion Municipal school, Korabaaa Mithagar BMC school at Wadala, and MHADA BMC school at Antophill.
The recipient school’s principals and teachers have appreciated this initiative of DBDS and are using them in their classes. They also have expressed their sentiments of gratefulness to the staff and students to Don Bosco High School, Matunga.
Mrs LalitaChaudhri (Project Co-ordinator) and Mrs. VibhavariKamble (Social Worker) were the resource persons for the session. Educating adolescent girls on reproductive health becomes important as these girls are in a transient phase from childhood to adulthood and they undergo many physical, psychological and emotional changes. The session dealt with anatomy of reproductive organs, early marriage, HIV/AIDS, STDs, nutrition, personal hygiene etc. The parents of the participants has appreciated the approach of Don Bosco on this issue.
The fair was meant for youth who are in the age group of 16 to 25 years studying or dropped out of school and looking for guidance in career options. 165 girls and boys from various slum pockets of Mumbai participated in the event. Majority of children were from the families where there is no one to guide them.
Mrs Surekha Pednekar (Coordinator – DBDS) spoke about the various courses that are conducted by DBDS at Matunga and in the various slum pockets of Mumbai.
In this event, DBDS had put up a stall where Mr Sunil Pandre (staff – DBDS) and Cleric Jeswin Mastan counselled 65 youth on various career options at DBDS and jobs available in the Market. It was a face to face, personal counselling on career in government, corporate and self-employment. It was quite an enriching experience for DBDS and the youth who participated in the Career Guidance Fair.
The Program started with lighting a lamp and singing a welcome song by the students from the evening remedial classes. Mrs. Kiran Moghe (President - Janwadi Sangathna), Ms. Nandini Jadhav (Chairperson - Anti-superstition Act, Pune), Mr. Karane (Corporator - Yerwada), Fr. Nelson Carvalho (Rector - Don Bosco Youth Centre), Fr Vincent Rasquinha (Project Incharge) and Mrs. Sulbha Shirsagar (Ex Corporator - Yerwada) were the guests for the programme.
Welcoming the participants and guests, Fr Nelson greeted everyone on the occasion of International Women’s day and encouraged them to unite together for their welfare. In her address, Mrs. Kiran Moghe laid down the importance of women in society and need for building better society through gender equality.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Karne Gurugi informed about the various government schemes available for the women and how they can take advantage of these schemes. He also shared his ideas on how women can make the slums alcohol free as alcoholism is one of the major reasons behind domestic violence and broken families. Mrs. Sulbha Shirsagar spoke about the importance of SHGs and how SHGs can be strengthened to become a medium for women empowerment.
This was followed by sharing experiences by participants where they sang songs and danced to celebrate the event. The programme ended with serving lunch and presentation of a gift to everyone as memorabilia for the event.