Slum Health Program
Chennai city has the 4th largest slum population in India. Around 820000 people live in Chennai slums (Census 2001). Due to lack of clean or treated water and lack of sanitation, people living there run the risk of contracting many illnesses some of which proves fatal. Hence the volunteers of SIP 2010, for the first time, took up as one of their “Extra Projects”, awareness program in health and hygiene at one of the biggest slums in the city, Saidapet, in South Chennai. This program conducted in collaboration with one of our partner NGOs, New Life Welfare Society (NLWS), provided training to 10 slum women in health and hygiene.To this end, a small Needs Assessment exercise was undertaken and a training curriculum was developed. This program was again conducted more efficaciously at Otteri slum, in North Chennai, in collaboration with another partner NGO, Social Awareness for Value Education (SAVE) Trust, during SVP 2011. 30 women were trained during the program.
Children’s Day Program
Children’s Day is celebrated on November 14th all over India, in memory of the first Prime Minister of Independent India. As some partner NGOs of IAPA, work among marginalized children, we conduct a grant program every year. All the children from our different partner NGOs, numbering about 100 are invited and each one of them put up dance, song, skit and so on. Prizes and gifts are distributed and a sumptuous dinner is arranged for the kids, to make the day memorable for them.
World AIDS Day
World AIDS day, commemorated all over the world, on December 1 is a wonderful opportunity to reach out to the people and spread the messages of AIDS prevention and care and support. We too at IAPA commemorate the event, by putting up awareness focussed street plays, video program, public campaigns, rallies etc., in collaboration with NGOs or educational institutions.
International Candle Light memorial Program
The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, coordinated by the Global Network of People living with HIV is one of the world’s oldest and largest grassroots mobilization campaign for HIV/AIDS awareness in the world. It is being commemorated every third Sunday in May, led by coalition of some 1200 community organizations in 115 countries. IAPA commemorates the day every year, with one of the partner NGOs. During the program candles are lit in memory of those who died of HIV/AIDS and everyone takes solemn oath to show love and understanding to the people living with HIV and to dispel stigma and discrimination.
TB Awareness Program
IAPA staff have been trained as Trainers of Trainers (TOT) in TB, by the organization called REACH who are implementing TB prevention project through Global Fund. Since TB is a co-infection of HIV, IAPA periodically provides TB awareness to slum communities, fishermen and factory workers and to people living with HIV, especially in areas most affected and vulnerable to the disease.
Arokiya Children Nutrition Project
“Arokiya” means “health” in Tamil language. The Arokiya –Children Nutrition Project of IAPA, being implemented since February 2011 aims at enhancing the wellness and life-prolonging of HIV Positive children through provision of nutrition supplement in Chennai and the peripheral areas. India has an estimated 220,000 children infected by HIV. It is estimated that 55,000 to 60,000 children are born every year to mothers who are HIV-positive (http://www.unicef/infobycountry/India_background.html). On discussion with the medical officers we came to understand that there was no programs to provide nutrition to children infected with HIV, in the continuum of care. This would lead to the health conditions of children being seriously compromised. This project envisages filling this gap.
In this aspect, we identified a group of HIV positive children, who are not attached to any care homes, but are living with their parents, mostly with their grandparents. An initial meeting of these children and their care givers was held at SMIS on 26th January, 2011, wherein we have found that the children on ART do not have proper nutrition as they are very poor. Hence the paramount need for this project. Every month on 2nd Saturday nutrition supplement items consisting of milk, health mix powder, cereals, biscuits, groundnut candy, milk powder and fried gram are distributed to the children at IAPA office. At present there are 30 children being benefitted through this project.
The project monitors the progress of the children through a “Wellness Record” maintained for each child. Height, weight and CD4 count are entered into the record together with relevant medical information of the children. Any child not showing progress in height, weight or CD4 are given additional attention. A part-time doctor comes every month, during the nutrition distribution and conducts medical check-up and prescribes medicines for the children.
Annam Adult Nutrition Project
This project is implemented by IAPA in collaboration with Selvi Memorial Illam Society (SMIS), a partner organization of IAPA. SMIS works with the people infected with HIV. They care for 15 women who are widows whose husbands have died of HIV. IAPA provides nutrition and provisions supplements to them every month. IAPA also provides periodical education programs to them in HIV/AIDS, STIs, RTIs, Care & support and Nutrition. Counseling is given to them for those who are in need of the same. SMIS submits reports to IAPA every month regarding the progress of the women.
IAPA Video Project
The video project is a collaboration effort between some Chennai city colleges, Apple Curry studios, a reputed company making ad films and IAPA. Through this project, we enrolled students pursuing degree in Visual Communication, and who are looking out for internship. Then they are given training in HIV/AIDS and asked to come up with a story that would educate young people on HIV/AIDS prevention. The Apple Curry Studio provides all technical support, including the equipment and personnel. So far we have produced 6 videos. Now, we are using all the videos in our HIV/AIDS education. The material produces by youth, for the youth is making quite an impact. After studying the impact, we hope to start producing more videos in the coming years.
The Mainstreaming Project was launched by IAPA as a pilot project. in 2011. The goal of the project is to scale up HIV/AIDS awareness programs in Tamil Nadu, through mainstreaming HIV/AIDS in collaboration with stakeholders in the development fields. This project was conceived by IAPA, due to the paramount need for including HIV/AIDS in the activities of all the NGOs in Tamil Nadu. At present only particular NGOs are working in HIV/AIDS field and the government is intending to reduce HIV/AIDS activities, as the incidence of HIV has tapered down in Tamil Nadu, as per the surveys conducted by it. But we felt that there was no room for complacency, as the infection could rise up at anytime as happened in many countries, hence our aim to mainstream HIV/AIDS activities among all sectors.
In 1991 a group of commercial sex workers were rescued from the red-light areas of Bombay (as Mumbai was then called). Few of them were united with their families. Some got other jobs and settled down in Chennai. While a group of persons with HIV were not wanted by anyone. Hence Zonta Resource Centre (ZRC), Chennai with the help from Zonta International came forward to help these women, who were then staying at home for women maintained by the government. Zonta International built a spacious home for these women, provided them food and training. Now after elapse of 22 years, there are 18 women in the twilight of their lives, most of them with HIV, some with psychiatric problems. The ZRC Chennai is now unable to run the home as their members are pre-occupied with their business enterprises and so they asked IAPA to run the home. IAPA entered into a MOU with the ZRC, by which IAPA manages the day to day activities of the women, providing care, support, counseling and education to them. During the SVPs the volunteers take up side projects to developing the infrastructure, setting up a vegetable garden and micro enterprises to help women earn extra income and provide training to increase their awareness on health and other matters that are relevant to them.