May 2018 Virsā Healthcare and Wellness Camp
Team Virsā held its 1st Health and Wellness Camp in Village Bhaankar (near Patiala, Punjab, India). The camp, which started on May 12, impacted ~40 Rural Phulkari Artisans and their families, and lasted 3 full days.
We partnered with a team of Optometrists, Phlebotomists and Orthopedic Specialists in order to run Vision Checks, measure Blood Lipid profiles and collect initial data on artisans who need specific support on account of Carpel-Tunnel Syndrome (wrist and hand pain), Spondylitis in the neck and back (owing to decades of needlework especially in ergonomically suboptimal work conditions) and Migraine/Migraine-like headaches.
Since Team Virsā spent these days preparing for and running the camp, this was also a great opportunity to collect data via participant observation. It was observed that meal portion sizes are very large and that the Artisan-families, which are primarily dependent on agriculture and animal husbandry, consume large quantities of dairy, dairy-based products, sugar, salt and vegetable/dairy-based oils and ghee.
These observations were woven into the Nutrition Awareness part of the Health and Wellness Camp and knowledge was imparted to the artisans regarding the need for Portion Control and especially, the role that Dairy/Dairy-based high Fat products play in Obesity, Insulin resistance, Type 2 Diabetes/Adult onset Diabetes, Osteo Arthritis, Estrogen dominance/Hormonal disturbances that can cause Endometriosis, Fertility problems, PCOS/Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, Sluggish Thyroid and several other Auto-Immune disorders.
These messages were reinforced by the visiting Optometrists who shared with the Artisans that a high-fat diet can also lead to Diabetic Retinopathy and further worsen their/their family's vision.
The importance of Personal Hygiene was also emphasised upon and how a simple act of washing hands with an antibacterial soap can help prevent infections and common diseases like cold, eye infections and diarrhea. To facilitate this, handwash products were distributed to the Artisans.
Also, one of the main focus of this camp was on Women's Reproductive Health and Hygiene. Sanitary Napkins were distributed to the artisans of childbearing age. They were specifically made aware of how to use these products and that it was important to carefully dispose them off. Rural Indian women continue to have poor access to Feminine Hygiene products and often use cheaper home-made alternatives such as cloth or cotton etc. Affordability continues to be a major barrier.
Funds for Virsā's 1st Health & Wellness Camp were made possible through the Virsā-Milaap International Fundraiser. We raised >100,000 INR, which goes a LONG way in rural Punjab. Virsā thanks all our generous donors for their valuable contribution and a big thanks to Milaap.org for their Crowd Funding partnership.
For more pictures of the Camp, please do follow us on Instagram @virsatheheritage.