Seven medical students from Lancaster University have travelled to Sri Lanka as part of plans to create a healthcare project for children.
By 2017, the aim is to send students to volunteer on the project each summer.
The seven – Chris Franklin, Laura Mitchell, Chloe Read, Maria Dobrzynska, Fatimah Khoda, Joanna Heyworth and Amy Fass – are all members of the charity Students for Kids International Projects (SKIP) which works with non-governmental organisations (NGOS) in the developing world.
The aim is to develop a sustainable community based project focusing on the health and education of local children.
Their trip to Sri Lanka involved visiting four NGOs in Colombo, Kandy and the tea plantations of Dickoya to find out which one would be the most suitable partner for SKIP Lancaster.
The four NGOs included Child Action Lanka and The Paalam International School which works with street and disadvantaged children, where the students ran interactive first aid sessions.
Amy Fass said: “In small groups we taught the children basic life support, the recovery position and what to do if an adult or child is choking. This was a fantastic experience for us and it was really rewarding to see the children practicing their new skills at the end of the sessions. “
The medical students also ran teaching sessions on infectious diseases for example dengue fever which is highly prevalent in Sri Lanka.
They then visited the NGO Lanka Mother and Child which focuses on improving the lives of the children of the Dickoya tea plantation workers.
“Amongst this community there are high levels of poverty and alcoholism and children often leave school at a very young age. This experience provided us with a good background knowledge of the problems these children face and how SKIP Lancaster could potentially get involved with this predominately isolated community in the future.”
The fourth NGO was the Cerebral Palsy Lanka Foundation which provides both education and therapy.
Amy said the students also took time out to see some of the country.
“Whilst in Sri Lanka, we also took the opportunity to explore this fantastic country; visiting the elephants at Minneriya National Park, exploring the temples in Dambulla and the beaches in Mount Lavina.”