The Lotus Flower Only Blooms in the Mud…
Eastern culture often notes that the lotus flower, rooted in muddy ponds, flowers on top of the water, above the muck and slime. Similarly, ESCIP encourages people to break through the mud of spinal cord injuries to live for all to see like fragrant, beautiful lotus blossoms.
19 December 2012
One family’s tragedy has become a lifeline of transformation for people in South Asia suffering from spinal cord injuries. The goal of this new Millennium partner, ESCIP (Empowering Spinal Cord Injured Persons), is to spread the vision of independence and empowerment to quadriplegics and paraplegics, and to promote support structures that will allow them to realize their potential.
The founding members of ESCIP became intimately familiar with the needs of those suffering from spinal cord injuries when, then, 19 year old Jonathan had a biking accident in India. Despite receiving care immediately after the accident, he was left a quadriplegic.
Crushed, but not destroyed.
As Jonathan began the road to recovery he soon realized that he could use his life to bring hope to others similarly crushed by these debilitating injuries, and ESCIP was born. Read more of Jonathan’s story and the stories of others, or watch the acclaimed short film: More Than Walking at www.ESCIP.org
When Jonathan, a 19-year-old American student, falls from a 70 ft. cliff in Northern India and wakes up in a nearby hospital, he is told he may never walk again. As a C5-C6 quadriplegic, Jonathan has limited upper-body strength and no sensation or movement in his hands or below his arms. He shares the same spinal cord injury as four Indian friends: Krishnan, 46, a resident at the military rehab center in Pune; Navin, 38, who is living independently and starting a school for street children in Delhi; Riya, 14, who was following instructions when her coach told her to dive into the unmarked shallow end of the pool; Rahul, 23, was defending his uncle from a drunk neighbor when the man’s shoulder fell upon his neck. Where are the resources that will empower them? Who can best help them find their lives again? Can a gift really come from your worst nightmare?
Confined in body, but not in spirit.
In India there are 1.5 million spinal-cord injured persons. Most of them are young adults who go from being financial supporters to financial dependents of their families. Many quadriplegics and paraplegics are confined to bed or unable to leave their home. They endure social stigma, and have little hope of finishing school or finding productive work.
A spinal-cord injury is no longer a death sentence, but often it is a prison sentence. ESCIP is working to change this.
ESCIP is seeking to build networks for the support, mentoring and independent living of spinal cord injured persons through:
- A community of local and international volunteers and SCI peer mentors who offer encouragement to those struggling through the rehabilitation process.
- Identifying volunteer coordinators in the areas of major treatment centers in India. (Coordinators are already in place in Delhi.)
- Assisting Coordinators in arranging for local peer mentors for SCIs and encourage positive attitudes in families and communities toward the vocational and educational pursuits of SCIs.
- Design and construction of a transitional residential facility for new outpatients, to be known as the ESCIP House, which will provide a permanent model of community re-integration.
- Training and mentoring by SCI tenants, who have independent lives, for those transitioning from hospital to home.
You can do something. You can be a part of this vital work in India.
The needs are great, but they are not beyond reach. Your gift will go a long way to help with wheelchairs, therapy and other necessary essentials for rehabilitation. Donate online now, use account code: ESCIP.002
More information on the various projects and the people who's lives are being transformed can be found on the ESCIP website.
It’s Not Easy in Darfur...
but don’t let it be impossible.
Times are hard, the future uncertain and cutbacks are the new normal. We learn to struggle through and hope for better times to come. But a cutback in basic medicines can mean disaster.
For those in Darfur who live in the remote countryside and in temporary camps, this cutback can be a death sentence. You can help us keep our medicine chest stocked!
Our partners in Darfur are now running seven health clinics, five in rural villages and two in IDP (Internally Displaced People) camps. Medical clinics are a lifeline for many and they will walk or travel by donkey for hours and hours to see one of the doctors. For them, this is the only medical care available...they dare not miss a clinic day.
In January these seven clinics conducted 14,771 outpatient consultations, and 525 reproductive health consultations. If a person needs medicine it is provided free of charge. They treat malaria, typhoid, worms, diarrhea, colds, pneumonia, eye infections, wounds and injuries, skin infections, fever, dehydration and whatever else may rear its ugly head in a population worn out by drought, conflict and war.
For the past six years our partners have received a very large grant with which to purchase medicines for their clinics. Unfortunately, 2011 was the last year of funding; we recently found out the grant will not be renewed.
To diagnose an illness or clean a wound then not be able to give the proper medicines is tragic. We simply cannot let that happen. Please consider giving medicines to those who cannot simply switch pharmacies or prescription plans. Their very lives depend on the free medicines the clinics provide.
To learn was to give click here ... to donate online click: Give now.
From The Dentist in Darfur…
Training the first Community Oral Health Workers
I am excited to tell you that after a year of intense training under my supervision, two local villagers have graduated from a new dental program and have the privilege of being the first Community Oral Health Workers (COHW) in this region! And just what is a COHW? Well, it is not a really a dentist or a dental assistant, just think of it as something in between…a mid-level provider of oral health.
When I first came here three years ago, I only found three dentists in the entire region of roughly two million people. The first dentist began to practice in 1993 after being trained in India. All three dentists live in the capital city, the only city in the state to have electricity. As a result, the vast majority of the population has no access to oral health care. This is especially true for those living in the refugee camps and rural villages.
To compound the problem, there is a lot of misinformation and superstition concerning oral health. Darfur’s culture, especially in the rural areas has remained unchanged for centuries.
For example most people think that worms cause dental decay and will seek treatment through magic (chanting) or ineffective traditional methods, like using smoke to drive out the worms. Another myth surrounding oral health is that infants' budding baby teeth are innately dangerous, causing diarrhea and high fever. The common practice is to remove them as soon as possible, often by using whatever sharp, metal object is handy. There is no thought given to sterilization, so this procedure will often cause infection and even lead to the tragic, unnecessary loss of the child’s life.
Sowing and Reaping in the Deserts of Darfur
Community health training reaps a healthy harvest.
Despite ongoing security risks, Millennium and its partners in Darfur continue to provide essential medical services like primary health care, child vaccinations, reproductive health services and community health training. Our health centers and mobile units reach thousands of people in rural villages and also in IDP camps where people who’ve been bombed or burned out of their villages seek shelter, food and the chance to rebuild their lives.
Conflict in Darfur continues and it fuels the needs of the wounded and displaced. It also fuels our workers, as they persevere in meeting those needs.
One community we got to know quite well through repeated visits, clinics and various trainings had suddenly found themselves on the run; their village in ruins. As luck would have it, they set up a camp in an area familiar to our team. It was such a relief to be able to reconnect with friends and assist in their resettlement.