AYUSH-Isha recently participated and successfully conducted various events at the ‘Valvil Ori Festival’ in Kolli Hills on August 2nd and 3rd. Organized in Kolli Hills by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation, the Valvil Ori Festival is an annual celebration named in honor of one of the kings who ruled this area in the past. The name ‘Valvil’ means ‘One who has mastered archery.’ King Valvil Ori was given his name for his superb skills in this discipline.
This year, with more than 50,000 people participating in the event, AYUSH-Isha was entrusted with the responsibility of conducting the festival’s cultural event of Oyilattam and an archery contest. Besides its activities as a healthcare provider, AYUSH-Isha is actively involved in various community building activities including organizing community celebrations, and sports and games competitions. AYUSH-Isha conducts archery classes for the children of Kolli Hills, as a tribute to this art form that the area was once famed for.
AYUSH awareness film released
At the event, the District Collector released the AYUSH awareness film titled ‘Un Arokiyam Un Kaiyil’ (‘Your Health is in Your Hands’) in the presence of other government officials and dignitaries. The film documents the efficacy of traditional health sciences such as Ayurveda, Siddha, Yoga and Naturopathy, and Homeopathy in alleviating major ailments such as diabetes, arthritis, asthma, Hepatitis B and C, and even HIV/AIDS. The AYUSH-Isha model brings holistic health to the population of Kolli Hills through an effective mix of preventive and curative care based upon these traditional sciences, combined with physical fitness programs and essential allopathic treatments. AYUSH-Isha is not just an advocacy for better health; it is a technology for wellbeing.
Healthcare in the hands of the people
AIOHS (Ayush-Isha Organic Health Systems) was launched on October 9th, 2010. It has been proactive in providing healthcare to the rural populace of Kolli Hills with a special focus on vulnerable sections of society such as new-born children, pregnant mothers and teenage girls. It provides pre-natal to pregnant women and post-natal care for lactating mothers through supplementary nutrition and medication that boost immunity, and control anemia and micro-nutrient deficiencies. The project also provides de-worming medication for children and adolescent girls. The AYUSH-Isha Mobile Health Clinic ensures that medication and healthcare also reach the remoter and less accessible villages. AYUSH-Isha is also actively involved in the creation of herbal gardens which ensure that people have access to indigenous medicinal herbs, and the planting of fruit saplings to help villagers maintain a healthy and nutritious diet. A team of dedicated AYUSH volunteers chosen from the Kolli Hills community provides support and maintains the momentum of the project while ensuring its long-term sustainability through community participation.
Changing the course of lives
AYUSH-Isha has made a difference in the lives of thousands of people across the Kolli Hills. But of course, this is not a numbers game. Each person has a story of their own – of how something as simple as basic healthcare, which many of us take for granted, can change the course of a life.
Here is the story of 25-year-old Sathiyaraj who lives in Keezh Solakadu village in Kolli Hills:
Sathiyaraj began drinking alcohol at the tender age of 12, and by the age of 14, he was already drinking heavily. Sathiyaraj would consume alcohol on an almost daily basis with his friends, eat late at night and go to bed feeling guilty. Despite repeated plans to stop drinking, he would end up falling into the same pattern over and over again.
When the AYUSH-Isha project fitness team began training adults in Keezh Solakadu in various games like volleyball and kabbadi, he decided to take on volleyball. Today, at least thrice a week in the evening, the village adults gather and play volleyball. Since Sathiyaraj began playing games, he no longer has the urge to consume alcohol and instead enjoys playing sports with his friends. He is more relaxed and at ease with himself and his surroundings. He also attended the yoga class conducted in his village and is now practicing regularly at home and feeling much happier.
To find out more about AYUSH-Isha, go to www.ishaoutreach.org/ayush/