The Needs of the Community
India, the seventh largest and second most populous country in the world, is a melting pot for diverse languages and cultures. FIMRC began its operations in Kodaikanal, India in 2004 by collaborating with the Betsey Elizabeth Trust. Since then, providing medical checkups and nutritional food has been an integral part of FIMRC’s work in South India. After immense success by improving the health status by implementing rigorous measures, FIMRC India now has extended its service to the other neediest communities of Kodaikanal.
Despite the global attention Kodaikanal receives for its beauty, the health system there has failed to show significant progress and a number of social, political and economic factors have inhibited the community’s development. In recent years, globalization has rapidly changed the face of this community. Ever-increasing numbers of international corporations, factories, and businesses have found a home in Kodaikanal; this economic growth has come at the expense of the local population, who often find themselves without jobs to support their families. Most men and women work in the fields and on the dangerous roads of Kodaikanal as day laborers, performing jobs that require intense physical labor with little reward. The average day laborer makes around 100 rupees a day, which is less than $2.50 in US Dollars to support an entire family. Most children in these families eat only white rice, and in many cases, even that is not available. Since parents must work during the day to support their families, young children are often left in the care of grandparents or older siblings.
In collaboration with Bethania Trust, FIMRC creates better health services and educational opportunities by working with two crèches in the community. A crèche is a combination school, day care center, and health center for children between 2 and 5 years old, which provides basic shelter, food, education and care. FIMRC currently supports the Nathanael and Joshua Crèche. Both these communities were selected after conducting a field study to assess the living standards in terms of economic stability. When the community’s children enroll in the crèches, the family’s older children are able to return to school instead of caring for their younger siblings and grandparents are relieved of the task of caring for mobile toddlers. Project Kodaikanal provides comprehensive health care for every child in the crèches on a weekly basis, where in a doctor visits both crèches to do routine checkups and treat the sick kids. Complete anthropometric measurements are documented to track the health status of each child at the end of the month. Children that need hospital visit are reimbursed on a case by case basis. In addition to a Health Tracking System for all crèche children, food supplements are provided to each crèche as a booster to their already existing meal plan to ensure the children meet the daily required allowances of calories.
In the Kodaikanal community, FIMRC helps raise awareness in the community through weekly Health Education sessions on important issues such as malnutrition, infectious diseases, maternal and child health care, HIV/AIDS transmission and other public health problems. Based on need and funding, FIMRC is actively working with a diverse group of organizations such as local hospitals, primary health and rehabilitation centers and schools to provide medical attention to people who are unable to access or afford medical treatment otherwise.