During her first visit in 2010, Cairns was overwhelmed by the huge need she saw everywhere throughout the school. But over time, she gradually narrowed her focus to the girls’ health and hygiene. Among her remarkable results, Cairns has:
- * taken volunteer medical teams to the school and Prana Health Center since 2013. Volunteers included a partnership with International Medical Relief, which brought teams of 18-25 medical volunteers for organized medical camps. These teams were able to see up to 2,500 villagers during each of their three visits.
- *delivered over 10,000 pairs of underpants to the girls, as well as hundreds of pounds of donated medical, school and hygiene supplies.
- * raised funds to build the school health clinic in 2012, Prana Health Center, immunization program, mobile medical van, Rags to Pads project (feminine hygiene products, Covid relief program.
- * raised funds for a mobile medical van, staffed through a partnership with Wockhardt, a pharmaceutical company based in Mumbai. (Post-Covid, it’s hoped the van can resume village visits.)
Despite all of this, Cairns says the list of services needed at the Prana Health Center grew nonstop during the pandemic. As Covid raged globally, Cairns tried to trouble-shoot from her home in Pennsylvania. She initiated a food distribution system for villagers in lock-down, and helped establish a Covid treatment center at PPES to care for sick students, staff, and villagers.
Cairns looks forward to returning to PPES in October 2022 for her 13th trip. “I have a comfortable life in the US, but my life in Anupshahr is more significant. Each time I fly home from there, I think, ‘That was my last trip.’ But then my heart calls me back. Working for PPES and the Prana Health Center is the best thing I’ve ever done—well, other than raising my two adult children,” she adds. “The PPES girls feel like my daughters.”