Madhya Pradesh, India March 19,

In the midst of a Jhabua sunset, Madhya Pradesh has a beauty that is recognized from a distance. Its people smile at foreigners with great curiosity and the children greet with innocence and joy. Almost instantaneously, a person can recognize the beauty of central India and realize that things run a bit differently. Perhaps my jaded New York mindset has gotten the best of me, but despite the binary customs between the East and West it is vital to embrace the multiplicity of Indian perspectives and traditions.

photo: Conducting a field-assessment with RMF staff

Needless to say, that during my brief experience in the field with RMF, I have witnessed only some of the challenges that comes with working with a marginalized population (on an international level). During one specific field visit, the team located Vijay, a child with a fragile body and timid face; he had lost his eyesight after having had what the villagers refer to as “badi mata,” a form of measles, a few months ago.

photo: Edith with Suriya

Vijay is approximately four years old and his weak sensory skills conveyed a sign of desperation. Sadly, to be blinded in a village is to also become a burden to the family. According to Jaimie Shaff, the Program Manager for RMF India, this type of situation occurs often due to the lack of medical access in the villages: with a simple vaccination and/or proper treatment, Vijay’s blindness could have been prevented.  His future livelihood could have been restored and his family’s sustainability premeasured.

The underprivileged youth/women/families are often a great reason to question our testimonies of reality.  Meanwhile, the ongoing distinctions with castes, classicism, gender inequality, religion and its people create a conflict towards progress.  Respective histories and stigmas continue to exist. Among the many questions, it is courageous to ask—what is being done?  The RMF team has guided me through the processes of working in the field and visiting families in the most rural and elusive locations. The local Staff, as well as the Community Nutrition Educators, display empathetic stamina as they routinely counsel and provide medical services that attempt to mitigate healthcare injustices that are ever so often ignored.

photo: The final harvest of the channa crop in the fields where RMF works

The overall dedication of the RMF team is wholesome and the smiles after a days work are genuine.  In the United States, I have had an array of past work experiences ranging from social work to healthcare policy to migrant farm work. However, these moments of unity with the people of India will distinctly stay in my memory. In addition, it is most important to humble yourself in order to understand the true depths of compassion.

photo: Edith with the RMF host family
For more information about RMF’s Malnutrition Eradication Program in India, click here and the Bhil Academy click here

To contribute to this initiative visit our website at

Return to Top