How does it all work? Who’s involved?

Samuha‘ is derived from Sanskrit, meaning ‘organized group’ or ‘society’.  It is an umbrella organization that has many programs to support the people in six districts of Karnataka (geographical details of the placement coming soon!).

Samuha structure

Samuha began operations in 1987, with the mission to improve the quality of life of vulnerable people within defined periods of time. Under its umbrella, Samuha has different sectors that support various needs within the community. We’ll be working in the sector that was created to support people with disabilities, and this group is called Samarthya.

Samarthya‘ is the Sanskrit word for ‘potential’.  This group’s goal is to reduce the incidence of disabilities, and to ensure that people with disabilities achieve their maximum potential and are able to lead their lives independently and meaningfully.

Samarthya

Samarthya’s services include:
1) Early Intervention Centres for children ages 0-6 years with disabilities including developmental delay, cerebral palsy, congential foot deformities, and other conditions
2) Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Centre for young adults, which is an in-patient facility where clients learn how to manage their condition
3) Short-Stay camps at the Centres where families receive consultation from multiple medical professionals and intense educational sessions on appropriate care for their child
4) Provision of aids and appliances such as splints, custom seating systems, standing frames, wheelchairs, crutches etc.
5) Home-based therapeutic services to provide a care plan suitable to that client’s environment
6) Functional adaptations of home environments (ex. installation of toilets, ramps, etc)
7) Promotion of inclusive education for children with disabilities
8) Vocational training and job placement for adults with disabilities

Now, to add another organization to the mix: SODA (Samuha Overseas Development Association) is based in Prince George, BC, and is headed by Hilary Crowley. SODA is a Canadian non-governmental organization that was established to support Samuha Samarthya by:

1) Addressing the annually identified needs of the disabled in the villages of South India by providing funds for corrective surgery, mobility equipment, and orthotic and prosthetic supplies (our fundraising campaign — details soon — will go directly to this!)

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2) Reducing poverty of disabled people and their families by funding vocational, income, and employment generation programs

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3) Ensuring continued quality of rehabilitation services by providing training sessions for the community-based rehabilitation team in South India and by the arrangement of rehabilitation student practicums from Canada (that’s us!)

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While we’re at the Samuha Samarthya campus, we’ll team up with local community-based rehab workers to  attend to local patients. The structure will be slightly different from the last time I was there so more details on that when we actually get settled in there.

All information is taken directly from the linked websites… looking for more? Please visit the links above. Hope that clarifies things a bit 🙂

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Ready… Set… GO!

After several months of coordinating with UBC’s Department of Physical Therapy, Hilary Crowley of SODA, and Kids Physio Group, I am ecstatic to announce that our volunteer trip is a GO!

Dates: January 6th – February 7th, 2014

Location: Samuha Samarthya Campus in Koppal, India

Supervisors: Hilary Crowley and Andrea Mendoza

Masters of Physical Therapy Year 2 Students: Danielle, Marcia, Kailen (with Hilary) and Maegan (with myself)

Population: Mixed Pediatrics and Spinal Cord Injuries, although Maegan and I will be working mostly in the pediatric centre

Stay tuned to hear more details about the placement, prep work and fundraising!