Volunteering in ICH (Institute of Child Health and Hospital for Children) also popularly known as Egmore Children’s Hospital, started with the initial idea of doing a cleanliness drive – not as a one time event but as a sustainable programme with the involvement of local community and the hospital staff.
This was an idea which Dr. Sailakshmi of Ekam Foundation had been thinking about and raring to get it into action. This was discussed with organisations like Chennai Social Service (CSS) and Youth For Seva among others and with constant brainstorming sessions, it was decided to first streamline the existing systems before bringing a change. Thus, the teams agreed to have volunteers don the role of ‘May I Help You’ to manage the crowd during OP hours, encourage the visitors to keep the surroundings clean, make use of the available facilities, counsel the mothers and children about health, hygiene and nutrition and so on.
Since June 2011, volunteers have been working at the General OP, Cardiology OP and at times support has been lent to other departments such as Neurology OP, Scan and X.-Ray.
In Nov 2011, a toy station was inaugurated by the CSS team at Cardio Thoracic ward with the sole intention of keeping the children with heart ailments happy & cheerful through their course of treatment. Toys, story books, puzzles, drawing and colouring books were generously donated by well-wishers for this purpose.
Since August ’11, YFS Volunteer Vyshnavi Sridharan has been volunteering at the Cardiology OP from Mon to Sat in the morning hours. During OP hours from 8.30 AM-11 AM, support is given to the Hospital staff for crowd management, registration of new patients, general counselling etc. After the OP hours, time is spent with the children of Cardio-Thoracic ward at the Toy Station.
As Vyshnavi is a trained Montessori teacher, Mrs Shobana an ICH staff of Cardio-Thoracic Dept, recommended that she taught the children of the pre-operative ward everyday as they were missing lessons in School due to the treatment. Now, Vyshnavi has begun taking classes for these children who are aged from 6 years to 10 years everyday from 9AM to 12.30PM. Basic English and Maths lessons are taught 2 days each and on Friday it is story telling session where each one of them have to come prepared to narrate a story to others in their preferred language. Saturdays are usually spent in competitions or in playing team games.