BUILDING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES IN INDIA & CHANGING LIVES

 

In November 2014 Opportunity International for a project in conjunction with Healing Fields Foundation was one of the inaugural 100 Women grant recipients for their “Build Healthy Communities” project based in the North India States of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Orissa and Chhattisgarh. In May 2015 some readers may remember we were very fortunate to have Mukti Bosco, Co-Founder of Healing Fields Foundation, travel to Perth and present at a 100 Women event about this project and the positive changes it was making for some of the poorest and socially excluded communities in this region.

 

It is with pleasure that the 100 Women Advisory Board are able to inform our members that the grant monies have been expended and we are now able to share the specific impact the $40,000 has had for the many women and their wider communities. The grant was used towards the training costs for 84 women to become health leaders, including venue hire, learning tools such as textbooks and staff costs. These 84 women were provided with a six-month training course focussed on preventable illness and to understanding the key health problems in their location. Following the training, a six-month internship was coordinated for these new health leaders to educate a further 200 other women in their communities. The multiple effect is estimated to ultimately impact 84,000 people, which based on these numbers equates to a valuable social investment of 48 cents per person.

 

The program included health education sessions on hygiene, sanitation, nutrition, hand washing, pregnancy and child birth, adolescent health and menstrual hygiene. An impact report from February this year reported 94% of health leaders had improved knowledge in health issues, 96% had been able to bring about changes in health practices in their families and their communities and 63% had observed an improvement in the likelihood of people in their villages accessing health services.

 

The longer lasting impact this grant has made is by improving access to health education and thus preventing many illnesses, those families living in poverty now have a better chance to remain healthier and increase their capacity to earn an income and journey out of poverty. This same impact report confirmed 66% of health leaders had reported an increase in income due to their work participating in health-related livelihoods.

 

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Some feedback from five of the successful graduates from this program goes to the core of 100 Women’s mission to create a world where all women and girls can live safely with access to health, education and economic freedom.

 

“We have gained recognition as health leaders. We are given respect and people consult us for any minor issues. This strengthens our self-confidence.”

 

“The training has provided us with very valuable information on preventative health and how simple health measures taken at home from time to time can protect us from major ailments. For example, boiling water, careful storage, use of clean utensils and adding the right quantity of chlorine can protect us from major waterborne diseases.”

 

“We have also become more financially independent by engaging in various livelihood activities such as selling sanitary napkins and conducting eye camps. This means we don’t have to ask our husbands or father-in-laws for daily expenses and can make our own decisions. The men in our families have welcomed this change too”.

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The 100 Women Advisory Board would like to thank our past and current members for their commitment and enthusiasm for this and the other projects that have been funded to date. 100% of all donations received have been used to support women and girls both here in Australia and abroad. Are you ready to step up your philanthropy and be a global changemaker? Do you want to learn more about your giving, network with professionals and WA leaders and socialise along the way? 100 Women is a Perth-based giving circle that provides all of this and more. To find out more or make your donation, visit our website. Alternatively reach out to us on info@100women.com.au and we would be delighted to answer any questions you might have.

We wish everyone a very joyous festive season and look forward to relating many more positive impact stories in 2017 and well beyond.

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