By Tag Wan Yi, Class of 2021
This year, 13 of us paid our fifth annual Project Saukya visit to Anuradhapura, North Central Province of Sri Lanka from 4 - 10 July 2018, warmly welcomed by the students and teachers from our partnering Rajarata University.
Project Saukya has been tackling Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology (CKDu) through health promotion, a sustainable, community-based approach to empower villagers in taking ownership of community issues which forms the core of our intervention strategy.
Based on the response and data collected from our 2017 trip, we decided to focus on CKDu and mental health awareness this year. The Rajarata and LKC students worked together over the first two days, firming up the content and delivery of our prepared materials. We then spent the next four days in Karapikkada and Issinbessagama conducting a health fair on CKDu and mental health, followed by a community discussion with all involved participants to discuss relevant social and health issues, and inspire the formation of their own health promotion cum support group. This group will promote the behavioural changes they wish to see and serve as a platform for social support.
It was humbling to witness the villagers actively learning how to conduct the health fair by themselves and coming up with areas for improvement.