“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” – Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Sunday, the 21st October 2012 was an important day in our lives. It was a day of pride, a sense of touching the lives of many others. A day when many of us felt truly satisfied and were part of a bigger cause. Truly, a day to remember…
As part of our annual social responsibility committee, Prayaas @ IIMB EPGP, we organized a free medical intervention camp within the college premises for the less fortunate ones. The camp focused on two important health concerns – One was to provide artificial limb or the famed Jaipur foot for amputees and calipers for Polio ridden patients or those with weak limbs. The other was to diagnose and treat eye related ailments ranging from simple issues such as refractive problems to cataract and optical nerve damages. The event was inaugurated earlier in the week by L Srinivas, Deputy Mayor, Bangalore.
In spite of all the campaigning efforts, we were not sure whether the news had actually reached the needy. We need not have worried; the patient turnout was much higher than we expected. Around 75 patients attended the foot camp, with a high percentage being first time beneficiaries. Many of them had travelled long distances to make it to the camp (Gulbarga, Davanagere, Raichur and Guntur). Foot measurements were taken and patients were fitted with the artificial limb(s) and calipers on the same day. For Nagraj, a 55 year old labourer from Mysore, it was his second visit to the camp. After an accident that cost him a leg followed by several painful surgeries, he resigned to his fate and nearly committed suicide. Last year, he got to know about the camp organized by IIMB EPGP. Today, he walks on his own feet and is able to live a respectable life. He was at the camp to get some minor repair job for his foot.
Mr. Anil Surana, 55 years, an industrialist who is also responsible for the Bhagwan Mahaveer Vilang Sahayata Samiti artificial limb centre in Bangalore over the last 18 years, stressed on the importance of students driving the program. According to him, this was more than just a foot camp – Many of us would go on to hold important positions in the corporate world and influence the future generations. He had another important observation to make – In the last 10 years, the number of people who have had amputations due to diabetes has increased to 50% of the total number of amputees. Spreading awareness of these facts is an important social initiative, as it helps channelize resources in the right direction in future.
During events like this, resource issues – monetary or otherwise always has a way of resolving itselves. For instance, Hari Krishna Reddy, a program manager with Tata Consultancy Services who runs his own NGO, Bless the Vision Charitable trust, realized that his own home town, Guntur had a large number of amputees who needed help. He spotted the Prayaas advertisement in the newspaper and saw that he could connect the needy ones to the help required. Within a short time, he managed to contact a local NGOand coordinated the travel and stay of 7 patients in Bangalore.
As the day wore on and the foot camp was in full swing, we had the chance to talk to several patients and witnessed several life changing moments, first hand. Each time a patient would take his/her first few steps using the support, we were filled with a sense of joy and feeling of having made a difference in someone else’s life.
The eye camp too saw a big turn out with almost 235 patients attending the event. While most of the people consulted the doctor for refractive problems, the older patients had cataract issues. One of the problems, according to the Dr. Srijana Manohar, Vittala eye care, was that most patients did not follow up on the advice given. This was especially true in case of surgeries, where people were worried about meeting expenses. To counter the problem, volunteers took down the phone numbers and other contact details with the intention of following up on their treatment.
At the end of the day, our learning can be summed in three sentences: The world is a big place and there are problems in plenty. We are but a drop in the ocean, but every drop is important. With Prayaas @ IIMB EPGP, we hope to continue to do our bit and make the difference…