About Bodhgaya Mothers & Infants Health care project
Akiko Hatano (Public health nurse)
"I’m home, everyone!" it was my second time to visit Bodhgaya and I felt as if I came back to my hometown. It has been 2 years since last visit. My heart was filled with good memories and loves by having been welcomed warmly!
This project had started in December 2010. The aim of the project is "Doing activity that is not only giving something but also supporting local people to find problems by theimseves and to get its solution by themselves".
Activity so far
In first time 2 years ago, we discussed with ladies teachers of Surya Bharti School to become core members of this project. We taught how to measure a weight of a baby, how to measure blood pressure of mothers, and knowledge about precnancy and childbirth.
And we had a meeting with mothers in a village, to teach essential knowledge about being pregnant and giving birth healthily.
It is said that girls who become about 13 years old in these villages, after their memstruation has started, their parents forced the girls to quit a school and make them marry boys to be selected by the parents. After marriage, there are many cases of having misscarriage or stillborn baby because the mother's body is not mature. I noticed that there were merely mothers who had felt and had expressed sad or bad by losing their babies although it is natural to feel sad in those situation for mothers.
Activity of this time
It was wonderful that core members has started Mothers & Infants health care program, and they go to a village once or twice in every month to weigh babies and hear from mothers if needed.
Further more, this time, they had started to write down on record card everytime, because there is no any record as mother-and-child health notebook about the date of birth, weight, and pregnant weeks of birth of the babies, etc. I found that people and our activity have grown as if seeds we sow had sprout.
This time, we went forward to have given them graph sheets of weight increase of children and they studied it so that they can read the records.
I found the recognition of the core members (ladies teachers) had made a big change. The teachers who were shy 2 years ago, changed themselves with identity as a supporter or an expert, and they think and act subjectively.
When we were talking about birth control, I tole them "There are some ways for birth control except tubal ligation. We have to tell how to use condom to village people." and they said "We have to teach them seriously."
I was moved and felt very strong thing by seeing their attitude to change themselves, to change villages, to change women's awareness.
Prospect and plan for the future (discussion)
This time, what I felt meaningful mostly was that we succeeded to make the flow of the following activities by discussing with core members about prospect of future activities together.
Firstly, it's about nurturing people. All core members wish to attend a health worker training seminar to learn knowledge and technique, and decided to visit to see other NGO's activities.
Secondly, nurturing instructors in each villages by having meeting with 4 to 5 men and women who would be a leader in their villages and with village leaders, health workers, midwives, anganwari in order to spread this health care project.
How wonderful it is! The instructors who were nurtured in Bodhgaya would nurture other instructors in the villages.
It is said that there are some nurses who snatch treatment fee in India, I think it is necessary of not only knowledge and technique but also nurturing high spiritual medical staffs. Understanding the word "Medicine is a benevolent art" deeply in the bottom of our heart, living for loving others. I hope strongly that staffs will be nurtured who have mission feeling and self respect as a supporter, can learn the importance of not only physical body's treatment but also healing mind and amending the way of living.
It is necessary that reform of mother's awareness in order to give a birth safely and raise a child healthy. They need to have minds to treat themselves more importantly. They give up and forget their own mind to take care of themselves by having been tortured or discriminated, in the society that women's position is low and more than 70000 women commit suicide every year. In Delhi, demo as a resistance movement occurred, the movements to protect women's human right have started. It will be an era that people would be asked about what being female, being a mother, being a wife should be.
I hope that women in India to retrieve their minds to treat themselves more importantly as a respective existence...
I hope that they take care of their body and mind as children of gods or buddha.
For that, I would like to love women more and more, and I hope they can have experiences of being loved more.
And most of all, I hope they can feel love of gods or buddha through faith more.