01 April 2008 at 09:34
Imagine a town where the HIV rate is over 35%, a town where many people live below the poverty line. Imagine a community traumatised by multiple bereavements, stigma and fear. The town is Maun, the place is Botswana, the country is Africa.
Homeopathy is making a real difference here. One charity that has been working on the ground in Botswana is the Maun Homeopathy Project (MHP), set up by Hilary Fairclough and Philippa Brewster MHP has been running clinics in the town since 2002. Now seeds for a long-term future for homeopathy in Botswana must be sown.
Maun Homeopathy Project, the School of Homeopathy and The School of Health are collaborating in the training of local homeopaths in Botswana, and the School’s home study course is the cornerstone in this program. The School and its tutors will sponsor the training program, which will initially include three free places for trainees worth several thousand pounds each. The School of Health is also supplying its home study medical science courses for free. Training local people in homeopathy empowers them with the tools they need to make it grow.
“MHP’s work is based on partnership with local organizations. We’ve always emphasized the need to be part of the community, rather than outsiders,” said Hilary. “This training program is another step in making the project sustainable over the long term."
MHP now treats over 200 patients a month, all HIV positive or victims of rape and trauma. It has become an integral part of the local matrix of health services, indeed an integral part of the local society.
The main clinic is in the Lutheran church, next door to the hospital HIV clinic. “It’s a lovely place to work in,” says Julia Hunn, a School graduate who this summer returns to Botswana for the second time in 2 years. “People come early in the morning, sit in the shade, and wait, sometimes for many hours. It’s fantastic to work when you hear voices laughing and talking outside. It makes you feel wanted and needed, which is sometimes hard to feel in the UK”.
The homeopaths in the project also see people in the local HIV support groups, and in the Women Against Rape centre. One day a week is dedicated to home visits, seeing patients who are too sick to come to the clinic.
The training is scheduled to start in September. Noam Bar, a tutor in the School of Homeopathy’s home study course who spent 7 months in Botswana, will be the first to tutor the new students. “I wish I could have had this training,” he says, “alongside the course, which gives all you need to know academically, the fresh homeopaths will work as interpreters in our clinics. It’s academic excellence combined with intensive apprenticeship. It’s the best training programme around!”.
MHP is now in a fresh funding campaign to raise the money needed to pay grants, and to purchase computers and study materials. “The project has always relied on small donations from individuals,” says Hilary, “it’s a lot of work, but it is much safer than relying on big institutionalized support, which is often withdrawn at a very short notice. We need an extra £10,000 a year to pay for the grants and study materials, and we hope to be able to raise this money. We are also always looking for homeopaths to volunteer for the Project by spending 6-12 weeks in Maun, running the clinics and supporting the trainees.”
For the School of Homeopathy, it is a great way to support an important cause. “When I wrote the correspondence course,” says Misha Norland, the School’s Principal, “it was my dream to make it a vehicle for bringing homeopathy to places that it won’t reach otherwise, especially Africa. I’m happy that this vision materializes now. We hope that this modest step is the first in long-term, growing relationship.”
The School of Homeopathy and The School of Health’s home study course have been around for over 20 years. “With students in over 50 countries we are well placed to support The Maun Homeopathy Project” says Mani Norland, the home study course director, “it filled us with delight when we signed up the first student, we are so pleased that we are able to help out in this way. It is only a small step, but it is about giving something back. The project is doing amazing work I am sure it will go from strength to strength.”
For more information about The Maun Homeopathy Project email Hilary Fairclough firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.maunhomeopathy.com where you can make a donation on-line.
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