Comprehensive Rural Health Project (CRHP) is a non-profit organization located in rural Jamkhed, Maharashtra, India that was founded by Drs. Mabelle and Raj Arole in 1970. Here, a community-action based primary health care system was created to empower and educate illiterate women and men to lead their communities to improve both health quality and social equality. A location known to have some of India’s poorest population and worst health statistics, is now known for its drastic health and equity improvements, thanks to the brave women and men who challenged the systems they lived in and changed the fates of their communities through CRHP. In particular are the village health workers, like Muktabai in the excerpt above, who are women that come from marginalized backgrounds where they are raised to have little self worth or value but rise to become village health workers, powerful community leaders who drastically change village life and health for the better.

CRHP’s success stories have spread worldwide, and now the organization partners with a variety of colleges and medical schools to educate students and health professionals of their Jamkhed Model to improve healthcare structures beyond the communities they work in. During my semester in India in the fall of 2018, I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a week at CRHP. As a part of School for International Training’s program Public Health, Gender, and Community Action, we were able to travel beyond our learning base in Delhi to become more educated on sustainable and rural healthcare. After hearing from the inspiring people at CRHP, I knew that I wanted to return again in the future to learn more.

This summer, through Dickinson College, I have the opportunity to intern with CRHP for eight weeks and help contribute to their diabetes project. I am a biochemistry and molecular biology student at Dickinson College with the hope of becoming a medical doctor to work with women’s health in a global health context, and this internship is a great way for me to gain experience working in a non-profit aimed to improve healthcare in a rural context. Dickinson is funding my internship with their Dickinson College Internship Grant. In receiving this grant, I am required to partake in a project to share my experience and what I learn from it to a larger community. I am beyond grateful to have this amazing opportunity through Dickinson and am excited to begin my Dickinson Internship Blog detailing what I learn as well as the stories of the incredible people that inspired me to return here, especially those of the village health workers or “the lamps that can light the world”.