Nursing students go to India to teach,work with orphans

By The Beacon | March 9, 2011 9:00pm

(Photo Illustration by Alexander Domingo -- The Beacon)

By Corey Fawcett, Staff Writer --

Right now, 13 UP nursing students, faculty and alumni are volunteering in a rural village called Narasaraopet in southeastern India. They are there on an 11-day trip promoting health among Indians and working with children in an orphanage.

Their medical work, done at a clinic through the Samraksha Society, will focus on women's health and family planning, a pressing issue in a country with a population boom reaching epic proportions.

"One of our professors, Dr. Kaye Wilson-Anderson, has done some research over there on women's health education, and we are now going back to actually do the education," nursing student and senior Caitlin Jeck said in an e-mail.

According to nursing students and juniors Jade Rawlins and Sarah Jane, the group is teaching women how to give self breast exams. Also, instead of birth control, they are giving women a menstruation cycle tool to help them know when they are fertile.

"Population growth is a big problem in India right now," Rawlins said.

They are teaching them how to know when to seek medical assistance as well.

The group is working in an orphanage as well, doing grief work with children, many of whom have diseases associated with social stigmas like HIV or leprosy.

Rawlins said they are presenting the children with memory books, meant to help them process the pain of losing their parents.

"Each page in the book comes with a writing prompt that promotes growth to process experience," Rawlins said.

Before leaving, students expressed excitement about the trip.

"This is the type of work that drew me to nursing: working in a global community, exposing ourselves to a larger reality of life on this planet," Jane said.

Rawlins said the trip is important because traveling is a huge part of gaining perspective on the world.

"As nursing students, we have a gift of knowing how to take care of people, and it's our responsibility to use that gift," she said.

The trip is scheduled to end on March 14, but many members of the group are staying later to volunteer more and travel around India.