“Barefoot Acupuncturists” is a non-profit organisation with no political or religious affiliation. Our only objective is to offer acupuncture treatments and training to less privileged populations in order to relieve them from illness and support them in having greater autonomy in healthcare.
It all started in 2007. Two acupuncturists, Walter Fischer (Belgium) and Jacques Beytrison (Switzerland) go to Mumbai, India. They witness the evident lack of access to appropriate healthcare in the poor areas of the city and decide to use their skills to provide some solutions. “Barefoot Acupuncturists”, a non-profit organisation, would be created for that purpose.
“Barefoot.Slums”, a non-profit organisation, was created in 2009 by Ujwala Patil and local social workers in order to assure the administration and proper functioning of “Barefoot Acupuncturists” in India, in accordance with Indian legislation.
The activities of “Barefoot Acupuncturists” have so far been carried out thanks to private fundraising, both in Europe and India. Indian Government institutions have been approached regarding the issue of subsidies aimed at healthcare and self-employment projects.
“THE BAREFOOT PROJECT” aims to offer an efficient and affordable medicine to society’s poorest and least fortunate through acupuncture.
In May 2009, due to the increasing crowd of incoming patients, the acupuncture clinic moves to a larger facility in the same slum, offering 5 beds and, at last, a toilet and running water.
Since its inception, “Barefoot Acupuncturists” has treated over 1000 patients in India. On average, 15-20 patients are treated per day in each clinic. A treatment requires several sessions, from a few days for common problems to several months for heavy handicaps.
While acupuncture can treat many more disorders, physical pain makes up about 90% of the cases in our slum clinic. We also treat paralysis, neurological pathologies, digestive problems, sleep disorders, gynaecological diseases.
WHO ARE OUR PATIENTS?
Overcrowded, unhealthy houses, poor sanitary conditions, heavy work demands, daily stress, lack of sleep, etc. can explain the majority of the numerous pathologies encountered in the clinic.
Many slum inhabitants have an insufficient access to healthcare: either too expensive, or not adapted to their problems.
The Barefoot Acupuncturists clinics bring a local solution accessible to all.
Acupuncture from an economic perspective:
- Allows treatment at a low cost (acupuncture equipment is cheap).
- Is highly adaptable to many places and situations due to its simplicity and portability.
- Provides an alternative to expensive and sophisticated treatments.
Acupuncture from a healthcare perspective:
- Offers a proven, effective and holistic solution to health related issues.
- Can offer help in cases that have not been successful with conventional medicine.
- Can reduce the excessive use of chemical drugs and their potential side effects.
Acupuncture from a human perspective:
- Requires a detailed evaluation, a global approach and real attention to the problems of the patients who know they are being listened to and understood.
- As a preventive medicine and with its well-known positive action on the mental health of patients, acupuncture offers a real contribution to general well-being.
“Barefoot Acupuncturists” believes that for a humanitarian action to be successful and sustainable in the long term, it must be managed and owned by those whom it serves. This is why our action is now focused on the training of slum and village people so that they can offer to their own communities an efficient healing technique in addition to their existing practices.[box]
Ramashankar Tiwari Chawl
400 051 Mumbai (India)
Ujwala Patil (India)
Founder of Indian NGO “Barefoot.Slums”
Tel.: +91 98 92747556
Facebook page: httpss://www.facebook.com/barefootacu[/box]
Source for content and images/video: Website and facebook page
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