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Youth Wellness Camps

Yuva Pragati USA / Youth Wellness Camps

Having established that education is most important for the success of the rural youth, we also recognize that good health, hygiene and nutrition for the children in our Ashramshalas are essential. Our signature program, Youth Wellness Camps enables us to deliver this quite successfully. 

Every year in January and February, many of us travel to India and spend 2 weeks participating in Youth Wellness Camps at two locations in Gujarat, India. During each of these camps, our volunteer doctors, dentists and other health care professionals conduct a primary healthcare examination and provide basic medicines, as needed.  In addition, instructions are provided for dental care, hygiene, eye care and other health habits. 

At each location we examine and interact with as many as 1200 to 1500 children ranging in age from 5 years to 18 years. This personal interaction, lasting usually 15 minutes between the “American” doctor and the Adivasi school child forms an impactful exchange, creating a bond of trust and love. Many of the children are seeing a doctor for the first time; they become aware of personal hygiene and being healthy; and , we have evidence of its impact in better grades, reduction in absenteeism and dropout rates, and other indicators of improved education. Of course, any major health issues including a referral to a specialist are processed during the examination.

Our volunteer doctors, dentists and other health care professionals come from all specialties. Many of them have studied medicine in India. Most of them speak Gujarati and are familiar with the local culture. They enjoy the “festive” atmosphere of the Youth Wellness Camps as much as the “work”. Local hospitality, comfortable accommodations and delicious food add to the joy of the camp participation.

Volunteer your time. Come to India with us at our next Youth Wellness Camps. Volunteer with us for the Youth Wellness Camps.

What happens at the camps?

The Youth Wellness Camps that we conduct each year since 2007 are intended to improve health and education of young forgotten school children in rural India. Over the years we have examined 25,000+ children and witnessed the improvement in their health, hygiene, nutrition, motivation, confidence, talents, and education. Absenteeism and dropout rates have come down significantly. Grades and enthusiasm for learning get better every year. 

Here is a typical year of Youth Wellness Camps.

US Sponsor: Yuva Pragati, Inc.

Purpose: Health Check-up for Adivasi and backward class children, ages 5 to 18, conducted at Ashramshalas in remote villages of Gujarat

There are 2 camps:

  1. South Gujarat Camp: Jan 20 to 24 (every year) – stay in Navsari, camp conducted in one of the village Ashramshalas, within 1 hour drive
    – Local Sponsor: Adivasi Sanskar Mandal, Ajrai, Gujarat, India
  2. Saurashtra Camp: Jan 28 to Feb 1 (every year) – stay in Rajkot, visit Ashramshalas in different villages daily, within 1-to-1.5-hour drive
    – Local Sponsor: Sister Nivedita Foundation, Rajkot, Gujarat, India
  1. Doctors – approx. 8 to 10 (from US) + local doctor/medical students
  2. Dentists – approx. 2 to 3 (from US) + local dental students
  3. Optometrist – 1 (from US)
  4. Pharmacists – 2 (local) + 3 to 4 pharmacy students
  5. Nurses – local nurses/students – 2 to 5 (they do BP and other simple check-ups before seen by doctors)
  6. Specialists (e.g., women’s education) – variable
  7. Local staff – 2 to 3 fully dedicated + 2 to 5 more, as needed. They manage everything. (Medical/dental equipment, previous day set up, schedules, bus, food, water, anything, and everything).
  8. Project Manager – There is a Camp Project Manager who manages everything and has a solution for every problem – personal or otherwise.
  9. Organizer/Other Volunteers – 2 or 3

Total visiting Personnel: Between 25 and 30 people

In addition, local schools provide teachers & senior students as helpers. Plus, local school principals and trustees are involved.

  • Visiting doctors and other volunteers go to India at their own expense and reach on their own at Navsari or Rajkot. From there, camp organizers do everything.
  • After reaching Navsari or Rajkot, expect expenses for the hotel stay and dinner only. US sponsors take care of expenses related to local transportation and pharmacy/medicines. Local schools provide breakfast and lunch.

General Information

  • At each camp, approx. 1,250 children are seen in 5 days by the team. Boys and girls are equally divided. Grades 1 to 12. (Total of 2,500 children examined between 2 camps)
  • Pre-camp registration, instructions, hotel bookings, schedules, etc. are all provided early on by the organizers (in Nov/Dec of previous year)
  • Volunteers only have to show up at the appointed day/time. Then, local teams take over – transportation, lodging, boarding, etc. Volunteers pay for hotel + dinner (transportation and breakfast/lunch – provided to with tremendous love at schools – are free). Bottled water is always provided when out of the hotel.
  • Volunteers are put up in 3- or 4-star hotels, provided good food (since most of them are from the USA, expecting decent stay). It is ensured that there will be good toilets and resting facilities at the schools where camps are held during the day.
  • As expected, all attendees are treated like VIPs in village Ashramshalas
  • Some days, there are evening programs – village children typically put up a show for visiting doctors; some days a side trip/event in the evening
  • The atmosphere is incredibly happy, uplifting and exhilarating – a very joyful experience for all
  • A lot of camaraderie among all, lot of conversations and singing in the bus and sometimes with the children at the schools

Information on Our Next Youth Wellness Camps

We hold Youth Wellness Camps every January. If interested in joining us feel free to contact us.