IIMC - Institute for Indian Mother and Child

Institute for Indian Mother and Child (IIMC) is an Indian NGO (non-government organization) working to improve healthcare and literacy among women and children. The organization is based in India’s third largest city, Kolkata (Calcutta), and in surrounding villages in West Bengal.

Visit IIMC’s website: www.iimcmissioncal.org

View the IIMC Documentary.

IIMC’s Main Areas

Education

Women Empowerment

Health Care

History

IIMC was founded in 1989 by the Indian doctor Sujit Kumar Brahmochary with the ambition to provide impoverished people in rural areas with basic healthcare. Dr. Sujit himself grew up in the rural areas outside of Kolkata and was given the opportunity to go to school thanks to a sponsorship program. He became a doctor and did his medical practice in pediatrics in Belgium.

After returning to Kolkata, he worked being in charge of medicine at Mother Theresa’s hospital. With the support from Mother Theresa, he eventually decided to start his own organization focusing on women and children. Dr. Sujit started by visiting rural areas himself and treated sick patients in a barn that he was allowed to borrow for one day a week. The queues for his care increased each day, and he was eventually given a small piece of land by the local population where the first IIMC clinic was built.

Dr. Sujit did however soon discover that the women and children he treated at his clinic came back week after week with the same symptoms and health problems. He realized that more was needed to ensure a sustainable and lasting health improvement among these individuals. IIMC has since then, thanks to donations from private individuals, organizations, and volunteers, expanded to include a number of projects and associations working together with the mission to improve women and children’s health, economic and social development, and social status.

Today, IIMC is a comprehensive community building project with two hospitals, six healthcare clinics, 31 schools, 8 banks giving microloans to women, and one education center. IIMC is run by 700 full-time employees and international volunteers from all over the world. The projects currently cover more than 300 000 people in rural areas around Kolkata and West Bengal. IIMC also has extensive international collaboration arrangements with around 25 countries, most of it being sponsorship and volunteer programs.

Children sitting on floor

Education

“Education is the only way out of poverty.”

IIMC works with educating children through their sponsorship program and disability center. A total of 31 schools is run by IIMC in the countryside around Kolkata and West Bengal.

Sponsorship Program

The Sponsorship Program started in 1993 by Bernali Bramochary, Dr. Sujits wife. The program gives children from vulnerable families the chance to go to school with the help of financial sponsorship from all around the world. Getting an education increases the children’s chance to get out of poverty and become self-sustaining. IIMC’s 31 schools currently have 7 000 students of which 3 200 are part of the sponsorship program.

Read more about the Sponsorship Program.

Watch the documentary about the IIMC Sponsorship Program.

People sitting on a floor

Women Empowerment

“To educate a woman is to educate a nation.”

IIMC run different projects with the mission of improving women’s social, cultural, and economic status.

Microloan Program

The program was started in 1999 in collaboration with Muhammad Yunnus, Nobel Prize winner in economics 2006 and founder of Bangladesh Grameen Bank. The program gives women in the communities a possibility to borrow a small amount of money to start or develop businesses such as fabric producers, restaurants, cattle farmers, and dairy. IIMC currently have 8 banks with 120 volunteers working full time, with a total of 26 000 women taking part in the microloan program.

Women’s Peace Council

India is a patriarchal society and the social status of women is low. Women’s Peace Council was started with the mission to improve women’s social status in rural communities. Each council consists of 10 women where the goal is to create a forum for women to meet and support each other. They meet every day for a few hours to read, discuss news events, and talk about current events and emerging problems in the village. They receive education in healthcare, social structures, and legal obligations and rights through IIMC. They are then responsible for passing the knowledge on to the rest of the village. The leader of each council has regular contact with IIMC and all members receive compensation from IIMC for participating in the councils. Today, there are 12 councils in different rural villages around Kolkata.

Woman Empowerment

The Woman Empowerment project’s mission is to give women a vocational education and the possibility to work for IIMC. For example, education in weaving and sowing is available with the chance of employment at IIMC to sow school bags and weave fabrics. Education in healthcare can lead to employment at one of IIMC’s clinics or at the disability center. Women are also employed in other areas, such as pharmacy, clothing retail, preschools, and at a food and nutrition group producing cheap and nutritious food which is distributed to pregnant women, children, and sick people.

People in a clinic i India

Health Care

IIMC runs extensive healthcare activities at its two hospitals and six clinics. An important part of the healthcare program is the health education given in cooperation with IIMC’s NGO network. International volunteers play an important role by helping clinics and running health-promoting projects and education programs.

IIMC’s Hospitals and Clinics

IIMC are running two hospitals and six clinics. The organization has three full-time doctors, one midwife, around 30 nurses and 120 caregivers. In addition to full-time employees, about 15 doctors are involved one week at the time, and 10-20 international volunteers are rotating between the clinics and hospitals. The big hospital, Indoor Clinic, is connected to IIMC’s main office, education center, and disability center in the neighborhood of Sonapor in Kolkata. The hospital mainly treats mothers and children with dermatological problems (burns, fungal infections, parasites, and bacterial infections). They also treat children for malnourishment and respiratory diseases and perform minor surgical procedures. For complicated and serious diseases, IIMC sends the patients to a university hospital in Kolkata.

The six clinics, Outdoor Clinics, are manned once or twice a week and accept 200-800 patients per instance. The largest clinic, located in Thegaria, has x-ray equipment, a pathology department, eye doctors, dentists, and a gynecologist. The clinic in Thegaria tends to 600-800 patients twice a week, and around 3 000 patients are estimated to visit the clinics each week.

The Volunteer Program

IIMC accepts volunteers from all around the world for one month’s work at the IIMC Center in Kolkata. This is a unique opportunity to gain insight of the Indian healthcare system and experience a different culture while contributing to the improvement of the standard of living for the most vulnerable population of rural India.

Read more about the Volunteer Program.

Watch the documentary about the Volunteer Program.