To dissipate basic info about cancer in villages
Vasantham was a project launched by us to reach awareness to villagers right at their door step. It began on 1st June 2003 at Karai Gounden palayam, Annur taluk ,Coimbatore district. And first talk was given under a large Pipal tree. The team that went often to the villages was – Mr.Sethuraman , Mrs. Meenakshi Selvaraj, Ms. Hemambika & Dr .Ramanathan
Our team of volunteers would typically reach a village around 6 – 6.30 pm in the evening and the first task would be to gather villagers. This was the most difficult aspect of the program, villagers would find a million reasons for not to assemble. Then we will put on films on cancer and few would get attracted seeing Kamalahassan on the screen. By the end of the film atleast 20 – 25 would have gathered to whom the male volunteer will give a general talk on Cancer. Later the women would be pulled to a verandah of a nearby house and educated on breast & cervix cancers.
15 months, 110 working days, 9455 persons educated from 96 villages
In the initial 3 months there was a great reluctance for people to congregate & an indifference to whatever was taught.. But as months progressed the indifference turned into concern. Villagers listened quietly, watched the video film & came up with relevant queries. In June & July when they spotted our vehicle they would run away and from September onwards on seeing our vehicle they would queue up to escort it to their village for the cancer talks. This was welcome change and we frequented these villages 5 days a week.
The trust saw that the usage of tobacco was nearly 100% in villages & it started as early as 5 years of age, the mothers would initiate their usage in children to stave off hunger ! . At every village we went there was at least one person affected with cancer. And at each village one person would break down relating how miserably the affected guy died. They admitted their helplessness to quit tobacco. They sought help. The women who were taught breast self-exam practiced enthusiastically on the models. At the end the gathered requested for a screening camp.
In 15 months time, 14 panchayat unions comprising of more than 90 villages in the Annur taluk of Coimbatore district have been covered. In addition a couple of panchayats in Pollachi taluk of Coimbatore District and few villages in Perinaikenpalayam have also been covered.
For us reaching Hamlet by hamlet and virtually barging into them and giving basics about cancer was totally different experience but very rewarding. Many have started to quit to tobacco, women examined their breasts and some even went to health centres to get examined!
Awareness along with NSS camps
NSS units of several colleges From Coimbatore like Government polytechnic, CIT , PSG Arts, Sakthi Engineering and VLB polytechnic invited us for creating awareness along with their rural camps.