Portland, July 2014
Having no experience in this region of the world, the exposure to Indian culture alone was a learning experience. Working with an NGO in the health field also allowed me to see how some health services are delivered in urban and rural areas I got to work with some amazing people that work really hard and with limited resources; their passion and dedication to their work is inspiring. I appreciated the opportunity to visit the schools with some of the health educators; being able to glimpse the school setting and curriculum was very interesting.
USA, May 2014
It was interesting and insightful. I learned a lot about how health care teams work in India, as well as common health problems faced by Indian village women.
Tamara Kiilu (Tammy)
Botswana, Africa. June 2014
I tried my summertime volunteering vibes for 2 months, June through July, in Dehradun, India this year and it was the most amazing experience. Working with Bella Health was the most rewarding, awakening, and fulfilling thing I’ve ever experienced. I spent my time reaching out to different communities in the hopes of empowering women and families with regard to reproductive health and hygienic care. We provided equitable healthcare to women, girls, and adolescents in varying villages neighbouring Dehradun and around Uttarakhand. Not only was I amazed by how little people knew about health care especially reproductive care but I also learned that I had a lack in knowledge in some areas too.I had the opportunity to educate people about HIV/AIDS coming from a country greatly plagued by the epidemic and that has gone to such commendable lengths in the fight against it. I saw a disabled woman walk from her house located miles away to reach the service we were providing; I helped a woman tormented by the same infection for 10 years having sought over 5 different medical opinions, I listened to a baby’s heart beat; I got to run lab tests and try my hand at the medical profession; I learned that medical professionals have the broadest sense of humour; I experienced India’s spirituality epitomized not in having a belief but a sense of purpose; I learned a language and a culture; and had the opportunity to feel the love, giving ethic, and acceptance that India boasts. I’m still at a loss in finding words to adequately explain the growth, strength, and peace I found. I empowered, protected, helped and learned. If anything I can simply say in those few weeks not only did I CHANGE LIVES but it also CHANGED MY LIFE!! Still missing Bella Health, Dehradun, and India!!
Botswana, Africa. June 2014
My experience as a volunteer was quiet interesting and I learned a lot. I also learned to appreciate things we take for granted. Women’s health is something that I have taken for granted. In India, women suffer because of a lack of knowledge, access, and/or ignorance. But the organization itself aims to provide them with knowledge, and access to healthcare at an affordable price.
Spain June 2014
I think that in India is very interesting and that Bella Health’s projects are making an impact in the community. As a social worker, I really believe in the work Bella Health is doing especially in education and disease prevention. In my opinion, projects that focus on the future as well as the present succeed in making lasting change in a community. In my three weeks here I have learned a lot and gained a unique experience. It was a pleasure to spend my time working with Bella Health professionals on various projects.
Sweden,Europe. April 2014
My experience with Bella Health was educational and important for me. I learned about the situation with reproductive health education for adolescents in India. I learned about the challenges that girls face with the lack of knowledge, lack of adequate health services and hygiene facilities in schools and in villages etc, and about the stigma and shame surrounding issues such as menstruation, contraceptives and domestic violence. Bella Health works with young educators that can address these issues directly and provide a space for young students to ask questions. There is a pressing need among young girls and women to access the type of services Bella Health provides.
I am grateful for the experience. I learned a lot,had a good time with the team at Bella Health, and had the opportunity to contribute my own experience, both as a professional and as a young woman myself.
Canada, April 2014
One day, when I was on location with the ambulance in Shiv Nagar, a girl ran up to the van with her little sister in her arms. The toddler’s face was covered with blood and she seemed disoriented. Her older sister was crying and she had blood streaked down her neck and face. The team in the van (Dr. Mehta, Sapna, Rashid) immediately helped them into the ambulance. They laid the toddler on the bed and began to comfort her and clean her face. From what I could gather, she had been struck by a motorcycle. Dr. Mehta examined her for broken bones and internal bleeding, checked her pupils, and softly spoke to her and asked her questions as he worked. That seemed to calm her down quite a bit, although she was still whimpering. After some time, he allowed the older sister to take the toddler to fetch their parents. The father brought the baby back to the ambulance to speak with the staff, and then the mother came as well. After giving the toddler and injection and talking with her parents, she was cleared to go home. All I could think the entire time was that if Bella Health had not been there, these poor, scared girls would have had nowhere to go to get help. What would have happened to the injured toddler if there was no Bella Health? This really cemented for me the need to provide health care and education to these women and children, because they have nowhere else to go!
Canada, April 2014
I volunteered with Bella Health because I wanted to contribute to an organization that is doing meaningful work in India. I learned many things while volunteering with Bella Health, the most significant being the reality of healthcare and health education in India. It is quite shocking how misinformed and uninformed so many people are about reproductive health. The information that to us is common knowledge is entirely new territory for many of the people that Bella Health serves. I very much enjoyed my volunteer experience . What I like about Bella Health is that it is executing its mission every day in a real and noticeable way. It is helping people who do not have access to quality healthcare. When Dr. Mehta diagnosed an ailing child with pneumonia and referred the mother to a hospital, I immediately wondered what might have happened to that child if Bella Health had not been serving in that community. I hope it can continue to expand its reach so more people can benefit from the care and education that is so badly needed.
Canada, April 2014
At Bella Health I learned a lot about the state of women’s health in India. I learned that many women think that their period is a disease and that basic knowledge of personal health and hygiene is lacking. I found the emphasis on education very encouraging as I believe that that is the key to long term sustainable change.
I really enjoyed my volunteer experience here. Being able to watch and assist the doctors, nurses and educators was a great experience. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming and the work itself is something that I am very excited about so I was happy to go to work every day. I also enjoyed looking at the before and after answers that children gave on questionnaires when Bella Health has gone into their schools. It’s so encouraging to see the immediate difference that this organization is able to make with these children.
One day I was sitting with one of the doctors and she had a little girl come in for a follow up. She explained to me that last time she had seen this child her stomach and face were swollen and she was very sick, but Bella health gave her worm medicine and the girl had passed a large sack of worms which were in her body and was no feeling and looking much better.
USA, April 2014
I have learned a lot volunteering with Bella Health! Most of what I’ve learned is about the status of women, and women’s reproductive health, in India. This experience has been eye-opening for a Western girl like me, who has taken reproductive health education for granted.
I was at a FARH class where one of the women asked Mandeep if it were possible for a woman to give birth to a snake, as she’d heard this story in a village she’d visited. That’s when I realized how much of a need there is for healthcare education in India. Reproductive health is now a major interest of mine, thanks to what I’ve learned while volunteering at Bella Health. I really enjoyed my volunteer experience and getting to know the Bella Health staff.