Hello! Just so you, as a reader, know who’s voice this is, I am a 20 year old nursing student from Canada. I am in my fourth and final year. I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Institute for Indian Mother and Child for 3 months for a semester abroad as part of my program. I was in India from May until August of 2014.
IIMC is such a vast project, and this is difficult to see unless you have taken part in it’s inner workings. There are a few major programs within IIMC, such as medicine, education, and social support, but the project goes much further than this. There is a women’s empowerment program, which includes many women’s peace council groups in the rural villages. There is a sponsored children’s program, through which people from all over the world can sponsor a rural Indian child. There is a financial aspect to IIMC through their micro-credit program which gives small loans to help families who need financial aid. There is a network program through which IIMC reaches out and has contact with other NGOs. This project is a multi-faceted organization with a great many kind-hearted volunteers making it run smoothly and productively.
Since I am in a healthcare-related program, I was very much involved with the medical aspects of IIMC. There are 5 outdoor and 2 indoor health clinics. The outdoor clinics are spread across Kolkata and surrounding areas. One is quite far south, and actually has an indoor section as well. Indoor means that there is a mini-hospital/rehabilitation area for rural women and their children. These beds are available for women who are in need of healthcare or who need a safe and healthy place to rest. As a nursing student in indoor, I participated in daily rounds with the doctor, as well as rounds with other foreign volunteers (taking blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate, and temperature), and spending one-on-one time with the patients. As I was here for 3 months, I really got the chance to develop relationships with some of the patients, and this was a really great experience.
The outdoor clinics are where people come for the treatment or medicine they need, and then they go home – there is no admitting patients unless they are referred by the doctor to an indoor clinic. The main services we provide at the outdoor clinics are injections (of painkillers and vitamins), cleaning and dressing wounds, and taking blood pressure.
Because IIMC is such an immense project, I also had the chance to take part in various trips with IIMC staff. I made visits to a few IIMC schools and spoke with teachers and students in their classrooms, I visited a summer camp, I got to sit in on meetings with the women’s peace council ladies, and take various trips to see sponsored children, network organizations, and micro-credit banks of IIMC. There is so much to get involved in within this humble and incredible project, and it is difficult to understand just how wide the scope of IIMC is until you’ve seen it firsthand.