Dental Camp at Siragu Montessori School was one of the prime activities which were planned after Ilampirai’s first visit to Siragu. The major issue we could see in Siragu during our first visit was that the health and hygiene of the children were of a very low standard. It was a first of its kind for Ilampirai to organize such an initiative which required a great support from volunteers and dental college students.
First of all, Ilampirai takes this opportunity to thank the students’ team from Government Dental College who whole-heartedly agreed to be a part of this initiative. The team consisted of around 10-12 students and 1 professor from the Government Dental College. Some new hands joined this time with Ilampirai to volunteer for this service and to strengthen the Ilampirai team. Also, we had the required co-operation from the support staff at the school for organizing this camp.
Ilampirai team reached the school at time and made sure that the required facilities have been done to facilitate the dental camp. Two spacious rooms had been allotted for the check up. The team provided the basic requirements to the doctors like drinking water, water & dettol to sterilize medical equipments and garbage bucket to dump used cotton and other disposable stuff.
The check-up started on a class by class basis starting from the Kindergarten to 8th standard. A basic check up was done by a panel of students in the first room. Based on their diagnosis, the prescriptions were provided in a slip which was taken to the other panel of doctors in the next room.
The second panel of students examined the children based on the slips that were given to them and were advised on basic cleanliness like gargling water and brushing. The children who were found to have dental problems were asked to visit the dental hospital the next day. The staff available for each class collected the slips from the children.
The students’ team expressed their happiness for being a part of this activity and provided an assurance to support us for such cause. The team started from the school after having their lunch.
In the second part of the day, we had a discussion with Mrs.Uma who is taking care of the Siragu Montessori School. We discussed on how the idea of starting a school for children from begging community came into existence and the various hurdles faced during the process.
Mrs.Uma explained that most of the development activities are taken care by getting loans from banks .The outstanding debt amount is nearly 50 Lakhs and they are trying to repay the loans slowly. She emphasised on the fact that the continuous support to these homes is what inspires them to do more to these needy children.
When inquired about the health & hygiene of the children, she admitted that since the children are coming from a community where medical facilities are scarce, the children are indeed frequently getting ill. She also told that these children are not being given the allopathic medicines unless the situation is worse. In most of the cases, they are practicing the natural way of healing by giving them proper rest. Though this seems to be a measure to avoid side effects due to the medicines, still it can create some serious complications in children.
Ilampirai Team mentioned that they saw a boy begging at road signal. He was one of the students of the school. Uma told with regret that the parents of these children are not allowing them to go to school on weekends and instead they were sending them for begging. She also said that few of the children are very mischievous and they need to be given special care. Some of them go around breaking things and it had become difficult to keep them under control. The discussion gave various insights into the way the school is run and the practical difficulties involved.
Later, we spent the rest of the day with the school children entertaining them. Most of them were able to identify us from our previous visit. They even remembered the team names that they had kept. Each of them expressed their talents like music, dance, karate, etc.., Finally, we distributed biscuits to all the children and started from the school back to our homes.
To sum it up, it was a great first initiative and gave us the inspiration to conduct many more such visits.
Written By - Param