Service in Australia

Health in Kind and Heart of

Love Foundation Activities

PERTH

On the May 4, 2019, volunteers from Health in Kind in Perth got together to run a free medical screening for refugees and asylum seekers.

 

This was the first time that a big scale medical screening was conducted. Previously, monthly screenings have been with smaller groups of people and medical professionals. At this event, there were four doctors, five nurses, two physiotherapists, four dentists, one optometrist and two audiologists providing their services to the attendees.

 

The nurses were divided into two groups with three nurses doing screening and two nurses providing health education. To ensure that children were entertained, there was an art therapist and her volunteer team who incorporated health education to children through arts and crafts. Children painted with parts of vegetables that are usually thrown away, made models of their mouth using cotton and paper. Kids even helped a soft toy floss its teeth! For relaxation there was hand massage for ladies and guided breathing exercises for everyone.

 

Packed lunches with milk, biscuits and dental kits were given away to all the attendees. Sandwiches and water was served throughout the event. Halfway through the event, Swami graced everyone with His presence, walking through the camp and interacting with volunteers and providing some valuable guidance!

 

The nurses saw 14 people, the doctors saw 15 people, dentists attended to 16 people, optometrist did 18 eye checks, audiologists did 10 ear checks and the physiotherapist helped seven people. Six people received health education from the nurses, four kids enjoyed the art activities and ten people made use of the relaxation exercises.

 

The vibrance, energy and love in the hall was palpable and attendees were grateful for the screenings. This event helped volunteers understand the needs of the community better, brought about some new leads for more work and gave the volunteers wonderful training to be able to hold other such events!

 

In Perth, Self Confidence and Life Skills’ Classes for children and youth are held once a week, run by the Heart of Love Foundation volunteers. Many of these children and youth come from difficult socioeconomic backgrounds and a lot of them have indigenous Australian backgrounds. This month, three classes have been completed and in each class there were about 10-15 children and youth who attended. Sessions, usually, begin with two minutes of silent sitting with some light instrumental music in the background to help calm everyone’s minds before starting the session. Facilitators have noticed that though initially, the children would be very restless to sit still; now, they take to this part of the session with great ease!

After silent sitting, the theme for that class is introduced. The following were the themes for this month: Inner Silence, Enthusiasm and Resilience. Depending on the number of volunteers, classes are divided into groups of younger children and older youth to continue the session. For each group, two children/youth are identified from the class to be the ‘Class Leaders’ for the day. This gives them a sense of responsibility and adds to their confidence which is vital for leading a good life.

The groups are then guided through a series of activities, discussions and entertaining videos that help them understand how to put these values in to practice.

This month, some of the activities included making Mother’s Day cards, colouring mandalas and other geometric patterns with a focus on mindfulness, walking mindfulness, reading out short stories on the life of Thomas Edison and performing small skits demonstrating Resilience.

 

Each of these activities were preceded and followed by discussions on what the children learnt from the activity. For instance, for the theme of Resilience, the volunteers and the attendees together discussed what it means to be resilient and the common answer we received was to ‘never give up’. It was further discussed as to which aspect of our life we need to practice resilience in and came up with answers such as ‘studying English’, ‘painting’, ‘playing football’ and so on.

 

Finally, after an hour of discussions and activities, the class ends and everyone proceeds to have a sumptuous lunch lovingly made by the catering volunteers.