What is an EPIC Centre?
EPIC stands for: Early Paediatric Interventional Care
Giving health care to children in need allows them to survive.. but to survive for what sort of a life in marginalised, impoverished communities?
Giving education to a child is great until they get sick in an area of no health facilities and then die before they even finish school.
Feeding a hungry child prevents malnourishment but does little else to help that child to thrive.
Working at a grass roots level in poor communities with little access to the basics of life we all take for granted has led us to take a more integrated approach to our work. We want to see children not only able to survive, but to really thrive and make a difference in their families, their communities and in their nation.
We also want to see the changes start early
- Before they are school drop outs & put to work as child labourers or worse.
- Before they are malnourished and show delayed growth and development.
- Before they die of an undiagnosed illness such as a severe heart condition.
- Before they become traumatised and unreachable.
Welcome to EPIC!
An EPIC Centre is based around a simple creche and pre-school model for the 0-5 years old comprising of all the key elements a child needs to thrive.
- Each little one has the opportunity of early learning though play in a creative and child friendly environment. This allows them, and their family, to get ready for main stream schooling.
- They are given nutritious food to prevent malnutrition early on and allow for good growth and development.
- As well as bi-annual top-to-toe health check ups, if they are unwell they are able to receive prompt excellent health care, either on-site by the EPIC nurse or if more complex they are brought by the team to the nearest Love the One community clinic.
- Most importantly of all the children are loved and nurtured. They come each day to a haven which is safe. They can relax, knowing that adults around them will not harm them in any way, and they are able to regain their childhoods, reach milestones and thrive.
From learning to brush their teeth, going on outings right through to helping the traumatised heal and working alongside the families, it all goes on at EPIC! We are seeing youngsters radically transform as they graduate into primary school, being enrolled into school as happy, healthy, well developed youngsters.
An integrated model of care brings extraordinary results!
How does an EPIC Centre get set up?
Each centre is set up in impoverished communities either in or near to their rural village or urban slum area. The area is pre-selected after much community participation and a comprehensive household and village survey has been completed.
5 local mums from the community are selected and invited to join their EPIC Centre program. They are given 2 months initial practical daily training at one of our EPIC Training Centres, learning more about nurturing child care, basic childhood illnesses, positive discipline techniques (no hitting allowed!) and how to help children learn through play in a creative environment.
During this time, the EPIC Outreach team are busy finding suitable premises to rent and all get involved in the set-up and painting of the building to create a creative and child friendly environment. Initial toys and pre-school furniture are bought/made and moved in and the excitement mounts in the village!
After the initial 2 month training period, the mums then begin to settle into their own new EPIC centre in their community... with continuing 3 + months of daily on-site support and training from our EPIC outreach team.
Around 30 children per centre are enrolled and each centre is split into three age groups, the baby class (red teeshirts), the toddler class (green teeshirts) and our pre-schoolers (blue teeshirts)! The children come daily to the centre, picked up in the Love the One transport, and have a full day of fun... with nap times needed after lunch!
Opening EPIC Centres with a whole package of care, based in the community, has started to transform little lives in a way we have never seen before in our medical work.
Helping others to replicate our model!
We want to see as many children as possible be able to have a full package of care and for their lives to be changed, Therefore we want to share our experiences and resources with others around India!
We have loved joining alongside reputable NGO's in this area. So far we have partnered and kickstarted an EPIC Centre in Agra and also in Hyderabad. We provide the initial toys and furniture for a centre, train their staff and help to transform the environment ready for the children. We also provide the medical support for their children.
Then once the NGO are happy we say farewell and let them continue with caring for the little ones in their area.
EPIC Centres are a small part of a much bigger picture!
EPIC Centres are just the start!A cluster of 6 EPIC Centres are situated around a central Children's Hub. This has an on-site paediatric clinic and Children's Centre for children with special needs. We have a transport network set-up to allow quick and easy referral and access to our team.
Alongside the EPIC Centres we then set up our first Love the One School allowing our children to continue in education with a full package of care, as started in EPIC.
The mobile community clinics continue to pioneer into more and more remote areas of India, bringing much needed medical care, and building relationships with communities. This leads onto to more and more communities asking us to train and equip them to run their own centres.
Simple, replicable, community led models of care bringing children the hope they need. We absolutely love it!
Is this sustainable change?
We are passionate about seeing communities being inspired and equipped to lead the changes for themselves in truly sustainable ways.
In reality, this is never a simple answer. Impoverished, marginalised communities are often hurting, broken communities who need friends to stand alongside them.
In the short-term, relief work is often needed in the same way it is needed in a disaster situation. Children are often needing emergency health care to just survive, food supplies may be negligible, unemployment high and domestic violence endemic. In this way, Love the One helps by bringing in the medical help they desperately need, establishing EPIC Centres and through this allowing children to have their human rights upheld.
Sponsoring a child and sharing resources around the world can really help us to reach so many more children. For just Rs 2500/month, £30 or $40 per month... if we have 30 sponsors for 30 children this allows a centre to be run entirely on those funds. It pays for the staff salaries, rent, food, annual resources and basic medical care. How amazing is that, for less then the price of a coffee for many around the world, a centre can run without needing futher money. This is lifechanging to those who live without most of their basic human rights being met. Safety, water, food, health or education.
If you want to be a part of EPIC and sponsor a little one, click here and get involved today!
In the long term though, we want to see communities empowered to see long lasting changes for themselves. Our community teams are looking at ways for communities to create and build innovative income generation schemes together, to increase not only household incomes, but to generate profits for each community to support their own children in an EPIC or Love the One School. This then also releases funds for us to pioneer more and more EPIC Centres and reach more children in need.
We are excited already to see how employing local mums from the community is impacting their poverty level immediately. 5 mums have a salary with Love the One. The other mums in thei community can safely go to work leaving their little ones in their own community EPIC centre. Research shows that when mums are able to earn money, the whole family benefits.
If you have the passion and skills to support and work with our communities in the area of income generation and setting up small business initiatives then we would love to hear from you!
How many children's centre's have you opened?
- Hyderabad EPIC Centre (with partner NGO) - opened September 2012
- Agra EPIC Centre (with partner NGO) - opened February 2013
- Berhampur EPIC 1 - opened January 2014
- Berhampur Children's Centre - opened March 2015
- Berhampur EPIC 2 - opened September 2015
- Berhampur EPIC 3 - opened September 2016
- Berhampur Love the One Primary School - opened March 2016
- Berhampur EPIC 4 - November 2017
- Berhampur EPIC 5 - February 2018
- Paralakhemundi (New Base) EPIC P1 - opened Jan 2019 by Love the One India Trust.
How can I get involved?
If you have loved reading about this integrated model of care and would like to part of making a difference in a child's life, then you can!
Simply put, the more people who sign up to sponsor a child, the more children we can enroll. From getting to know your child through letters, or even perhaps even a visit to meet your sponsored child in India... this could both change yours and your sponsored child's life. Click here to find out more!