Healing a Hurting World, Literally!
By Nagulan Nesiah
Beti Marandi and Mehdi Hansda are two ordinary housewives from a small village in India, who are doing extraordinary things for their community. These women, along with 30 others, recently participated in First Aid training through the Church Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) program to be able to treat minor illnesses and ailments. Why this is so significant is the fact that the nearest health center to their village is located 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) away. For people who live in these isolated villages, with no access to public transportation, their only option is to visit the local village quacksalver who usually charges excessively for simple first aid treatments such as cleaning a wound or providing antacids. Mehdi says, “Depending on the type of disease, the quacksalver can charge whatever he wants.”
Episcopal Relief & Development, in partnership with CASA, works primarily to combat malaria and kala-azar in India. As a result they are also able to stress the importance of building awareness on general health and hygiene practices. Task forces are the main vehicles for raising this awareness. Beti and Mehdi, two of the five task force members in their village, help their neighbors in times of minor medical emergencies. CASA provides each task force with a First Aid kit containing bandages, antiseptic, ointments, and other tools, so the volunteers can put the kit to good use! Beti shared a story about how she treated a boy named Charles Murmu who came to her to get First Aid treatment after falling down on his way to school. She sanitized his wound with antiseptic and covered it with a bandage, free of charge!
All of Episcopal Relief & Development's programs take an asset-based community development approach. We believe each community has an asset or strength that can be used to meet to their needs. We simply provide them the training and the tools, to bring out what they already have within. “We didn’t know all of this before,” said Beti, “I feel nice to know this and use this knowledge for my village.” Mehdi expresses a similar sentiment, “We feel happy that we cured so many people of our community. Even though it is small, we couldn’t do this before.” Thank you Beti and Mehdi for making a difference in your community!
Photos: Top, Beti Marandi and Mehdi displaying their First Aid Kit box. Middle, Beti and Mehdi dressing wounds of villagers. Bottom, Beti checking the temperature of a child.