Testimonials

2014

One week in India has passed in a whirlwind of new food, new faces and new words.

After finding our feet in Dwarka house and Buldana town, we have been immersed in the work of Dr. Moses and the CBHP team, both in the town and the rural villages nearby. One of the most positive outcomes of the CBHP presence has been the training and induction of Village Health Workers (VHWs) in some of the rural villages surrounding Buldana. Having already met with two of these women, it is evident that they provide their communities with access to basic medicine and health advice that may otherwise be out of their reach, given the distance and expense that many community members have indicated as barriers to reaching health care in Buldana town.

In choosing to train women in the VHW roles, CBHP is also taking a powerful step in empowering women, something that they are also focusing on with the sewing program that they have introduced for adolescent girls. Meeting with some of these girls in their sewing class and back home in their villages, it was inspiring to hear that they have been able to use the skills they have learnt to earn their own income and now have inspirations to start their own classes and to attend fashion schools.

The women of Buldana have truly made an impression on all of us volunteers, so much so that we have decided to dedicate our research in Buldana to investigating any issues that they face with the hope of implementing a program for women and girls.

– Natalie Ward

 

 

We have now been in Buldana for one week. Our days have been spent either visiting villages where CBHP operates, and conducting interviews for research, speaking with the students as part of the Adolescent Girls Sewing Program, visiting the CBHP health clinic, going to the Sunday market and to church, local excursions, Marathi lessons, Indian history lessons, yoga, and movie nights.

The villages we have visited so far (Mohegaon and Khadki) were interesting because we got to talk (via translation) to the Village Health Workers (VHW), whom were trained and equipped by CBHP. These women are the only source of medical knowledge and supplies within the village, and this has resulted in the eradication of malnutrition (from an average of 32 percent two years ago). It’s quite touching and inspiring. We have learnt so much about the Indian way of life and village culture, along with gender, as we have decided to do a research project on women’s issues in Buldana’s villages.

In the coming weeks, we hope to gather enough data to be able to devise a proposal or program that targets the women’s issues we have identified. Thanks to Dr. Moses and the volunteers at CHBP India, we have been made to feel very comfortable and have had such a positive experience already.

– Samantha Ferrier

 

Volunteering in India is one of the best decisions I made in 2013. Many people had discouraged me from going, telling me how difficult and miserable things will be in India. But I got here anyway, and the experience is just amazing.

Dwarka is the place we stayed in Buldana. With Dr Moses and the team looking after us, things went really smoothly, and I was able to settle into the flow of things straight away. Our time here is packed full of activity, and it is great to know that it made a meaningful difference to the villagers. I had conducted a survey on the women’s vocational sewing class initiated last year for BPL villagers (most of which are women). It was time consuming completing all the individual questionnaires and interviews, requiring a lot of translation work. However, knowing that they really appreciated and felt empowered by the sewing program made it worthwhile, and the data collected would help CBHP figure out how to better improve the program.

We also visited three project villages, collecting data to complete the health audit update. Discovering that most of the project villages no longer have previous high rates of malnutrition was the most exciting part. It demonstrated that CBHP’s previous programs and classes had succeeded in part to empower the villagers and improve health outcomes. In line with that, we are also doing more research on women issues such as education and gender discrimination, so that we can look at designing programs down the track to address these.

All that’s just said a quarter of what we have been doing. I am really glad to have met Samantha, Natalie, and Karen here as part of the program. We have many more days to go, and I’m really looking forward to each day.

– On Zhi Xiang

 

Having come from China, I’ve seen many people in my country who suffer from terrible living conditions just like those in Buldana. I’ve always regarded poverty as a powerfully negative force, that disempowers people and can kill one’s passion for life.

That’s the reason why I felt so impressed when I worked with the local volunteers in CBHP. Many are school girls coming from below-poverty -line families; they are single mothers; they are among the most disadvantaged. However, their love for the life has not been quenched. Instead of mourning and complaining about how unfair the life is, they dedicate themselves to helping others even when they are also in desperate need. It is truly inspiring to see people in such unfavorable circumstances confidently trying to make a change through participation in meaningful development work. I believe this is what empowerment – one of CBHP’s core principles – is all about: encouraging and supporting people to take charge of their circumstances and make their own choices; and realizing that together people can make a difference.

– Karen Kuang

2013

My trip to India was more interesting and intense than anything I can remember. I met the most amazing people, had the most amazing time, and I have the greatest confidence in the program that Doctor Moses and the CBHP team are trying to set up. I would recommend this trip to anyone and everyone.

–Geneva Goldenberg

There were two highlights of the volunteer program for me. Firstly, I was deeply enriched by the heaps of time we spent with our host family and the families that lived around our accommodation. This enabled me to gain a deeper understanding of the people and everyday life in Buldana, in a way that just participating in the scheduled volunteering activities would not have. Secondly, I greatly enjoyed and appreciated the breadth of activities that we were allowed to experience. The flexibility of time we had there proved to be both an advantage and disadvantage. All in all, I would definitely highly recommend the CBHP program to anyone who is considering it!

–Erica Lim

It was foreign and also fascinating. One of the things I like most about the program was the India culture. The sari dresses, the delicious food, not to mention the hospitable Indian people, they all together made the experience more memorable. It was a valuable opportunity to live with the locals and understand them. Building on this mutual understanding, we helped them with the skills that we have. Definitely, do not miss out on this fantastic trip.

–Xiao Sun