Institute for Indian Mother and Child
A third live below the poverty line. They couldn’t afford that coffee you bought this morning. By age 18, 47% of Indian women are married. 90% of children abandoned in India are females. In 1989, Dr. Sujit Brahmochary founded the Institute for Indian Mother and Child to change these statistics; through medicine and through education.
“Education is the best contraceptive”
– Indira Ghandi, former Prime Minister of India.
Through IIMC, you learn that education is the best Medicine.
What is it?
IIMC is a non profit, non government organisation based in West Bengal, India. Being a developmental project, rather than a charity, IIMC aims to provide people with skills and services so that they escape the cycle of poverty.
Where and who?
The project works in the huge districts south of Kolkata, stretching from the south end of the city out to the Bay of Bengal. The people are villagers, residing in mud housing, and they are poor. Bound by birth to low income professions and forced to reside in rural areas bare of infrastructure, they have little or no opportunities to access services like health care and education.
What services does IIMC provide?
6 medical outreach clinics, located near various villages, to provide primary health care to the rural population; 140, 000 people were treated in 2015
38 rural schools have been opened for children aged 5-17 to provide both primary and secondary education
4,000 children have been financially sponsored by people across the globe. This sponsorship not only pays for their education, uniforms and school material, but also for their schools (above) to be built and staffed.
Several rural banks have been built and operate to provide poor families with loans to start their own businesses. The microcredit programs is based on the Nobel Prize winning Grameen Bank model
Health education and womens empowerment programmes
All areas of the project are run by local Indian people but overseas volunteers play an important role- that’s where YOU come in!
How can I help?
1. Go to IIMC and offer your services as a volunteer for a period of 4-5 weeks! Up to 20 international volunteers from over 9 countries reside in Kolkata every month and work with IIMC staff. If you are studying medicine, you can be a medical volunteer. Mostly this involves working in the rural outreach clinics doing wound dressing, treating infections, providing vaccinations. You can choose to be involved in doing health checks on sponsored children, which requires home visits. You also work in the ‘indoor’ health centre where mums and babies stay while the children recover from their illnesses, mostly severe scabies infections and malnutrition. Providing education to these mums about breastfeeding and hygiene is another of the important roles you can take on. Also spend time with O+G doctor doing antenatal and gynae clinics and take the chance to make booklets to educate people on common conditions. You will get as little or as much as you want out of the experience; they are very keen for new initiatives and will take your suggestions seriously. IIMC encourages preclinical students to volunteer – you may get your first hands on experience of treating patients yourself! Also look out for the IIMC Health teaching group, a new initiative where medical students head to IIMC in a group to volunteer with a focus on health education. Info through Interhealth.
In January and February of 2013 two Danish volunteers made a short documentary about being a volunteer with IIMC. To hear some first-hand experiences of what volunteering at IIMC is like please watch the video below.
Sponsor a child – by yourself or with your friends!
IIMC relies purely in international donations and child sponsorship is one of the main arenas that enables the valuable work to continue. The cost of sponsoring a child is $30/month. You can sponsor a child yourself, or arrange a 3 for 1, where you and 2 friends share the sponsorship of a child (paying $10 each/ month). When in India you can visit the family you sponsor and see for yourself where your money is going. Its amazing how far a little money can go – you sacrifice one cappuccino each week, and a child gets to go to school and wear warm clothes.
Visit the official IIMC website http://iimcmissioncal.org/ for in-depth information on the organisation.
Contact the Interhealth IIMC project coordinators, Liz Dernie and Ben Joseph, at [email protected] if you are interested in volunteering or sponsoring a child.
Like the Institute for Indian Mother and Child (IIMC) Australia Facebook page for regular updates.