Thursday 24 February 2011

Social enterprises redefining sector boundaries?

I am investigating the possibilities of creating awareness of non -malignant palliative issues among various communities and to encourage community participation, and would like some ideas and advice. Thank you very much

We are quite certain that not many travel companies will receive enquiries that are unrelated to holiday planning! Especially something like the one above. This was a message The Blue Yonder team received from a pathologist in South Africa recently. For us, this is a proof of what an impact a maturing relationship between two social enterprises can create. One- working to spread the community owned palliative care to rest of the world (Institute of Palliative Medicine) and the other- a sustainable tourism operator using tourism as a tool to bring attention of the world to successful and inspiring initiatives like Kozhikode model of Palliative care (The Blue Yonder).

The Blue Yonder (TBY) is not into palliative care. But what we are attempting to provide is a platform for domestic and international travelers to experience the unique model of community owned palliative care which the The Economist Intelligent report had called “a beacon of hope. We believe that if we are able to inspire even one person or organization to replicate this in her town or country, our endeavour will be successful.The engagement between The Blue Yonder and The Palliative Care movement is deep and multi-faceted.

We share here a few areas where this engagement is maturing well. It’s a small step towards ‘Creating better places for people to live and people to visit.’

The Blue Yonder runs workshops for IPM volunteers to other social engagements that they could participate. Some of the ideas that these workshops generated caused the ‘Students in palliative care’ to apply for Change looms awards, which they subsequently won.

Concern Without Borders is an initiative that grew out of the experience of the Palliative Care movement in Kerala in training and involving over 30,000 volunteers to care for the incurably ill. The Pain and Palliative Care Society which initiated this movement now aims of expanding its reach and the network of volunteers to replicate this model of the community network in Kerala to other parts of India and the world. TBY is a part of the team that conceptulised this idea and will be closely involved in the rollout of this programme.

The Blue Yonder is currently exploring opportunities with UK based vocational skill development organization City & Guild to build capacity among various partner projects including ‘Students in Palliative Care’ and Institute of Palliative Medicine. The Blue Yonder is redesigning it’s travel itineraries so that our travelers can spent a significant amount of time at various Pain and Palliative Care Society and Institute of Palliative Medicine (IPM) run and supported link-centres to be inspired and learn from such initiatives.

Tracks We Leave is an initiative launched on 09
th Oct 2010 on the World Hospice and Palliative Care day. The Blue Yonder employees save 3 Rs per day which is equally matched by the management to help raise small donations for the Pain and Palliative Care Society. We are a small organization with currently nine employees spread out of India, Germany and Norway. In a year we contribute a small amount of INR 18,000 to Pain and Palliative Care Society. There are more several tour operators in Kerala. By promoting this among peers, we believe we can contribute significantly to making Palliative Care management in Kerala largely self-sustaining.

The Blue Yonder is one of the social enterprises, along with the IPM involved in promoting the initiative of Our Responsibility to Children (ORC), a brainchild of Vijayan IPS, the erstwhile Police Commissioner of Kozhikode in Kerala. Observing the trends of teenagers and youths with delinquent behaviour, the police commissioner approached civil society organizations in the city of Kozhikode to help the police in helping these youth to be part of main-stream society. The Blue Yonder has committed to train these youth as guides and interpreters and be absorbed subsequently by the tourism industry. Given the paucity of good interpreters in the tourism industry, this initiative could be a win-win situation for travelers, the tourism industry and the communities in question.

Footprints is a social rehabilitation project by IPM for physically and mentally challenged people. Patients with debilitating spinal injuries and those with advanced renal diseases and chronic psychiatric illness are the main beneficiaries of this initiative. Patients are trained to make various items like umbrellas, environment-friendly pens, paper bags etc., through interactive training camps organized at the IPM. Raw materials are supplied to the patient after the training, and the products that they make are collected, sold and the profit returned to them. The project depends heavily on the involvement of the students from various campuses in Calicut city who are linked to the patients. The Blue Yonder brings travelers to assist the patients as well as local volunteers in these socio-economic rehabilitation initiatives.

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