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“Back to School in South L.A.”
By Sarah Stern
This past weekend, Real Medicine Foundation & the Florence Western Medical Center hosted their first “Back to School” Event, providing more than 60 children and families with brand new backpacks filled with school supplies.
Recognizing the needs of this community has not been the challenge; the challenge has been how to encourage the community to show up for the services available to them. Free health and fitness programs for adults and children are offered at the center by Real Medicine, yet often we find a low attendance due to lack of access to information, transportation and health issues. While we have worked diligently to encourage the patients with incentives to attend these programs, at times it can be frustrating. Many charities in Los Angeles share this dilemma.
So the question becomes how can we bring about awareness of our programming in an area where the digital age has fallen behind? Phone numbers on sign-up sheets are often disconnected the following month. Most patients do not have home computers, making emails a futile effort. How can we meet the needs of the community and bring forth something that they will show up for, while giving them access to information about the center’s services and our programming?
An angel, from JustDial.com by Caitlin Mcquilling
I’m often asked what keeps me going in the face of the hardships and emotionally taxing situations we face working on issues such as childhood malnutrition and HIV/AIDS day in and day out. My answer is simple: it’s all about finding inspiration in the most unexpected of places and circumstances.
On Tuesday while out on a village visit we came across a little girl, Gila, who was extremely sick and dangerously malnourished. She and her family had just returned from a month long stay at a private hospital in Dahod, Gujarat where Gila was properly diagnosed with tubercular meningitis, but unfortunately was not given the proper treatment. Over the month she was there the family spent their entire savings and then some only to see Gila rapidly deteriorating. After a month when the family could no longer afford “treatment” they were sent home. This is when we found the family in the village, desperate for us to help in any way we could. As soon as I saw Gila I knew she needed expert medical care not available in the state of MP. We told the family that we would have to bring the little girl to the hospital immediately and they eagerly agreed without a second thought.
July 27, 2010
By Sarah Stern
This past weekend our little “warriors” took their workout up a notch with instructor Roz Baker. Every month Roz comes in and gives the kids at the Florence & Western Medical Clinic a full hour of heart pumping exercise while incorporating healthy living tips. The kids were literally “bouncing off the walls” with the introduction of exercise balls to help develop their large motor skills, hand-eye coordination along with the ability to work with one another.
We cooled down after Roz’s session with an arts & crafts lesson where the children explored a variety of mixed media materials and created paper plate fans for themselves. The temperature in Los Angeles was in the hundreds, so our project seemed quite appropriate! Volunteers Carly Krause and Aleksander Stanisic provided guidance through the project (which got a little messy) and our finished projects had the kids feeling pretty “cool” about themselves-
We are looking forward to our yoga session on August 7th, so please stay posted for more on the magic of working with the children of South Los Angeles, and what Real Medicine is doing to make a difference!
by Jonathan White
Last month, Real Medicine’s Lwala Community Health Center in Kenya welcomed two 18 year old first time mothers on a Saturday morning: Millicent, nearly silent in labor in one corner, and Maureen, a vigorous and loud laborer in the other. There was never better proof of the need for a larger space for deliveries in our clinic, Real Medicine’s support of the new maternity center is much appreciated. Despite the small space, Clinic Officer Michael Omollo and clinic founder Milton Ochieng’ MD were smiling as silent Millicent pushed out a crying healthy baby girl.
Maureen’s vigorous, athletic, and loud labor response was a stark contrast and kept the team on their toes. A second crying and healthy baby girl was welcomed about an hour later. This was baby number 100 for the Lwala Community Health Center! These children have all been born in what was originally designed as a kitchen and was converted to a birthing facility when laboring mothers began to come. Groundbreaking for a much larger and proper maternity unit is planned for August 2010.
For more information about this initiative please visit: http://www.realmedicinefoundation.org/initiative/healthcare-project-lwala-kenya
by Jonathan White
Our Tangalle Children Relay Preschool had operated with our suppport from 2006 until the end of 2009. During this time, Real Medicine covered the teacher’s, the children were provided with uniforms, stationary, playing instruments, school materials, cultural and educational tours, a daily meal, and medical treatments all free of charge. In an great example of our long term goals of self-sustainability, over the past few years the community we have been serving has been able to slowly recover from the Tsunami and return to their previous lifestyle. This also means the community is now in a position to be able to afford to send their children to a paying preschool and support their family’s needs without our outside help.
For 2010, the management of the school has decided to move the project to a new location, the village of Palathuduwa, to provide the same services to a much needed community. Our group is very well known in the area for its charitable activities, and a preschool in Palathuduwa had approached our team for possible support to help fund and manage their preschool. This other school had been operating successfully for many years, but had recently run into financial difficulties and was in danger of closing down without further help.
Our project in South Sudan, the new Juba College of Nursing and Midwifery, continues to gain momentum and vital support, with Southern Sudan’s current Minister of Health, Dr. Luka Monoja, visiting the first student class at the temporary College campus in Juba. The Juba College of Nursing and Midwifery is a new professional level 3 year college degree program supported by a consortium of stakeholders: Real Medicine Foundation, World Children’s Fund, UNFPA, UNDP, World Health Organization, Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the government of South Sudan.
Dr. Monoja was accompanied by the Undersecretary Dr. Olivia Lomoro and various other government officials. He indicated the importance and deep need for this level of trained Nurses and Midwives in Southern Sudan, and also stressed the how this particular institution is not only important to his heart but also to the Ministry of Health for the sustainable capacity building of professional health care providers.
He also mentioned that the need for skilled birth attendants through the training of midwives at the College is geared specifically toward reducing Sudan’s very high maternal mortality rates. Though the establishment of the college was long overdue he was glad that Southern Sudan can boast of having one now.
We’d like to give thanks to Carly Shankman for holding a succesful fundraiser in San Diego for the Malnutrition Inititiative in India. Here is the blog she’s written about the fundraiser and her upcoming volunteer trip to India with RMF
By Guest Blogger, Carly Shankman
I was introduced to the Real Medicine Foundation through Michael Matheke (RMF India Programs Coordinator) about 4 months ago. It was at that time I decided to leave my life in San Diego and take the journey of a lifetime backpacking through India. Even greater than my desire to travel and learn for my own personal growth, I wanted to contribute to the people and communities of India. My passion in life is to see, do, explore, meet, live, love, appreciate and experience everything I come across on my journey. I believe in contributing to the greater good of the world and leaving the world a better place than when I arrived. RMF provided the platform for me to do this. After reviewing the website I immediately resonated with the malnutrition eradication program and the work they are doing with children.
I spoke with Michael and expressed my desire to volunteer on-site. After the plans were set for me to stay onsite with RMF I started to brainstorm fundraising ideas to make a monetary donation prior to my arrival. Since I am traveling with 3 other girls to India, Bri, Kayla, and Laura, I wanted to do something we could all work on together. We ran the idea of having a car wash at the restaurant with our GM, James Stephenson, and he was completely on board. He even allowed us to advertise the event to all our customers that came in.
The car wash was held on Saturday, July 10th and it was a complete success! We were a little concerned because the carwash was being held on the 4th day San Diego had been really overcast and cloudy and thought it might deter people from coming. Right after we were done setting up the sun came out and the cars started lining up. We had a steady flow of 3-4 cars at a time all day long and all our friends stopped by with cars to clean, snacks to share and the DJ kept the music jamming all day. There were approximately 15 volunteers helping to wash cars and collect donations and nearly 50 people stopped by to support us. The event went perfectly and thanks to LJ Strip Club, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Vons, Einstein’s Bagels, Trader Joe’s and all the amazing volunteers that came out, we raised $750 for RMF!
Primary Care Clinic, Yayawatta,Tangalle, Sri Lanka
The clinic that started it all off for RMF, more than 5 years ago in Tangalle, Sri Lanka, continues to thrive and provide, community outreach and health education programs to Yayawatta Village and the surrounding areas. These areas have still barely gotten back on their feet after the complete destruction of many surrounding villages and infrastructure 5 years ago by the Tsunami. The clinic’s main beneficiaries include the population of Seenimodara, Kadurupokuna and Palapotha.
Having this convenient access to free healthcare is especially important for the areas young mothers, children, and the elderly. During the last 3 month period of March, April and May a total of 642 patients were evaluated and treated at our free clinic. The diseases we see most frequently here are upper and lower respiratory tract infections, viral fevers, gastrointestinal tract infections, heart disease, hypertensive disorders, skin diseases and different forms of arthritis.
Our staff also periodically conducts field visits of the Nursing Officer from the Government Health Authority which continues to provide important information for mothers about proper methods of family planning.
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
July 16, 2010
By Sarah Stern
Real Medicine Foundation continues to provide physical and emotional support to children and adults within the greater Los Angeles area. With our children’s programs, this past month we focused on how to approach situations which can cause a great deal of stress within our everyday lives. Most of the children who participate in our programs are being raised by family members other than their parents, and are at high risk for future physical and psychological problems.
Our workshop “Turning lemons into lemonade” gave the children the opportunity to discuss different situations which can cause stress, and then invited them to explore and create their own problem solving techniques. The majority of children we work with are faced with extremely difficult situations due to demographics based on socioeconomic status. Their neighborhoods are unsafe, schools are overcrowded and there is little or no access to enrichment programs which would help relieve the stressors created in these environments.
We have noticed an increase in the number of children with a high BMI index, due primarily to lack of nutritional education coupled with the inaccessibility of fresh produce and whole grain foods. Real Medicine Foundation offers Adult & Child Health & Fitness education workshops along with a food donation program 5 days a week which provides organic produce and food donated from Whole Foods Markets, Venice, California, in an effort to assist in meeting the needs of this community.