The movie credits start rolling as tears fall down my cheeks. I am feeling sad, yet hopeful and encouraged. I have just finished watching the Pad Man. The overwhelming amount of devotion and care exhibited by the Pad Man has me feeling so much gratitude and excitement for the people who live in this world. Particularly, for the passionate people in India dedicated to improving the lives of others.
For those who are unaware, Pad Man is a film based on a true story about a man who identified a problem concerning menstrual hygiene in India and wanted to find a solution that would benefit the women in his family, as well as the women in his community and beyond. Despite facing extreme disapproval and ostracism from his own community, he persisted because he saw the value in developing a new solution to a problem he struggled to see the women in his family face. He persisted and because of his passion to make a change, he ended up influencing and improving many lives.
This film hit close to home because I feel I am surrounded by a community of people who embody such passion and dedication to change the lives of the people around them for the better. After completing two weeks of orientation with like-minded, passionate young individuals who all accepted positions with the American India Foundation like I did myself, I arrived in Bangalore to begin work with Janitri Innovations: an organization committed to improving maternal and child health in India.
Janitri develops sustainable technology aimed at improving the health of mothers and children. They have developed an app called Daksh, which helps healthcare professionals track labor in a more efficient and productive manner. When healthcare professionals use Daksh, they have greater access to identify when there is a complication with a labor and can make an informed decision in an effort to prevent maternal and infant mortality. Additionally, the Janitri team is developing a device called Keyar, which can easily track and record fetal heart rate and contractions during labor. This device can also help to reduce maternal and infant mortality.
I am inspired by the knowledge, innovation, and passion the Janitri team brings to their work in improving maternal and child health. Sometimes it is difficult to remember my own passion when dealing with the mundane and often annoying complexities of everyday life in a large city in India. This transition to India and my work with the American India Foundation has not been without challenges so far, but I am reminded why I chose to pursue this opportunity when surrounded by innovative, passionate, and dedicated individuals. When I think of the word “passion,” what comes to mind are the many people like the team at Janitri, who remain passionate and dedicated to finding valuable solutions to problems, and because of those people, wonderful advancements are made in the public health sector of India.