During the week of March 15, 2019, three SoFHA team members, Samantha Vicars, LPN at Blue Ridge Family Medicine; Megan Long, NP for Home Health and Shelley McIntosh, NP Hospitalist for Johnson City Internal Medicine, traveled to the slums and brothels of India for a Human Trafficking Medical Mission Trip.
Samantha Vicars recounted her experience, “The mission allowed us to set up a medical mini-clinic where we treated and ministered to the women and children of the Red Light Districts. We saw everything including intestinal parasites, fevers, joint pain, headaches, swollen limbs, rashes, HIV, AIDS and even the mumps.
While providing basic medical care, we quickly realized that these women, whose average age of being trafficked out for the first time is ten years old, had no knowledge about their menstrual cycles, hygiene or self-care. We learned it is commonplace for the women to use sand, dirt and debris to absorb their bleeding. This can result in rashes, Urinary Tract Infections and other medical complications.”
The American team saw a need and introduced the “Pad Project,” which gave them an opportunity to educate and prepare the Indian ladies for menstruation. Several locals and church members came together and donated time, money and supplies to create kits for the women. Each consisted of two washable, reusable feminine pads with five liners, two pairs of underwear, a bar of soap and over-the-counter pain relief pills.
The Indian women embraced the “Pad Project” and appreciated both the kits and feminine education.
“We went with the intent to treat and educate them; however, we left with so much knowledge of love, appreciation, and strength that they taught us.”