December 2017 | Issue 33
Project Daya empowers villagers to seek better health

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By Dawn Looi, Class of 2021

Project Daya, LKCMedicine’s first Overseas Community Involvement Project (OCIP), envisions to improve the lives of slum communities in Batam in a way that is self-sustainable and focused on villager empowerment. We currently serve one village, to which we commit one visit every quarter.

October 2017 marked our 12th trip. We had a new team of group leaders and many fresh faces joined us from the newest batch of medical students. Filled with excitement and equipped with new goals for the coming year, our team of 12 bumped our way over sea to Batam.

As always, we started with a programme specially conducted for our friends from Peduli Bangsa – an Indonesian non-governmental organisation (NGO) and partner in our work. This programme comprised education on specific health-related topics, as well as skills training related to the village outreach. Time alone with the NGO is always precious and is part of our effort to ensure the project’s sustainability as we aim to train trainers instead of directly giving aid.

Project Daya members with friends from Peduli Bangsa

Having assessed the needs of the villagers over the course of four visits, we decided to carry out health education. This was conducted through door-to-door visits, which allow more space for personal conversations to take place between us and the villagers and enable relationship building as we listen to individuals and encourage them.

Door-to-door visits with health education brochures created by Project Daya members

We also conducted programmes for children at the village kindergarten. It is always a joy to be with children, love and inspire them, and to know that change can start from them too.

Playing with children after a long day of outreach

Most importantly, we took the time to foster stronger relations with village chiefs, health authorities and an exceptional group of village ladies who voluntarily took on the responsibility for the health of the entire village. We hope to support and empower these ladies to do more for their village – by equipping them with knowledge and facilitating discussions, so that they can improve villagers’ health literacy and healthcare access. These interactions allow us to align our vision and build bridges between parties for the benefit of the village.

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Project Daya members with the group of ladies who are helping the village with health

We’re embarking on an even more streamlined and targeted trip next week. And as always, to follow our motto of “translating hope, empowering generations”, that villagers may feel cared for and valued, so that they can live life more whole, as each individual rightfully deserves.

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Outreach team for the October trip: six Year 1s, six Year 2s, five Year 3s and two members from Peduli Bangsa