NADA fundraising training


imagesSeptember, 2021 saw a group of fifteen student, and recently-graduated acupuncturists and clinic supervisors undertake a three-day fundraising training in the NADA protocol, at the Northern College of Acupuncture, York. 

Jude Blair, who organised the event and led the training said, “I have been overwhelmed by people’s generosity. My thanks must go to Richard Blackwell, College Principal, who kindly provided room space for the training; to Phoenix Medical, for donating needles and other equipment and to an anonymous donor who provided all the printed learning materials. Also, special thanks must go to Janet Stevens and Ami Micklethwaite – graduates of Nca who recently took the NADA protocol training with me – for their time, energy, support and assistance both before and during the training and for helping to make the course so successful. There were also a few trainees who helped with the smooth running of the course by quietly working behind the scenes, disseminating information about the training, co-ordinating people who were interested in taking the course, providing transport to and from York and donating beverages for the breaks. Thank you all!!! 

Picture2“Everyone on the course worked hard to increase their knowledge and skills over the three days. I feel privileged to have been working with such an enthusiastic and dedicated group of people, who worked so well together, and I was humbled by how hugely supportive participants were of each other, openly and generously sharing their wide-ranging experience and expertise from other areas of their lives. Deep gratitude!”

A number of trainees have already expressed interest in volunteering for World Medicine and many are actively exploring ways to develop their practice to incorporate the use of the NADA protocol, to the benefit of their patients and clients. 

Funds raised will support the work of World Medicine in ongoing projects such as the 3 week annual acupuncture ‘camp’ in Gujarat, the weekly clinic for refugees in Wapping and to the development of further projects, both at home and abroad. 

If you are interested in taking the NADA training or volunteering for World Medicine projects, please get in touch by emailing info@worldmedicine.org.uk.




The Refugee Friends Clinic

Clinic organiser Barbara Robinson writes…

The JRS clinic at Wapping started 5 weeks ago on 18th August and it has been very well received by refugee friends.

It is primarily a seated ear clinic but as our volunteers usually have both body and auricular skills we have also been able to treat any distal musculo-skeletal problems that have come up.  The last 5 weeks has seen a steady flow of between 8-12 friends each week plus several staff!  The organisational assistance from JRS has been excellent, the practitioners are in their stride now and the friends are getting used to the set up – they seem to appreciate the quiet atmosphere and are relaxed when they leave.  Next Wednesday will be the last of this cycle of 6 weeks.  We will have a gap of 1 week, then the next cycle of 6 will start on 6 Oct.

Many, many thanks go to all acupuncturists and staff at JRS for their open heartedness and commitment which has enabled this clinic to get off the ground, and I look forward to it continuing long into the future for the benefit of refugee friends.


New Refugee Friends acupuncture clinic

By Barbara Robinson, Trustee

New Refugee Friends acupuncture clinic opens 18th August!

Dallya Alhorri, JRS Refugee Activity Coordinator

Nearly there – on 4th August volunteer acupuncturists gathered at the Jesuit Refugee Service* day centre in Wapping to acquaint themselves with the space they will be treating in and to meet Dallya, the JRS Refugee Activities Coordinator.

The meeting was heart warming and productive with everyone buoyed by the thought of opening this new clinic for Refugee Friends.  The friends are offered 6 weekly sessions of acupuncture to help with a range of health concerns, particularly trauma, anxiety, depression, insomnia and grief.  Treatment is primarily auricular with the friends seated; however distal points may also be used.

The first clinic will take place on 18th August at 2pm, with the last friend being treated at 4pm.  Friends are encouraged to attend for all 6 treatments as we know that acupuncture is a cumulative experience and that will give greatest benefit.  At the end of this 6 week ‘block’ there will be one week break then another block of 6 weekly treatment will commence.

My thanks go to Sarah, Julia, Suzannah Caroline, Najma, Sally and Catherine for their commitment and wonderful enthusiasm.

The volunteers are all qualified acupuncturists or NADA practitioners with insurance and DBS checks in place. When allocated to deliver treatments in a 6 week block, volunteers are asked to commit to 3 afternoons in that block.  They may then miss a block but commit to 3 afternoons in a subsequent 6 week block.

We are always looking for new volunteers, so if you feel you would love to help at the Friends’ clinic, please contact me at Barbara@worldmedicine.org.uk

Barbara xx

*The Jesuit Refugee Service can be found at www.jrsuk.net has been operating for over 40 years. It is a Catholic organisation providing legal advice, small grants, emotional support and befriending to destitute asylum seekers in London and at the Heathrow detention centre.

They welcome all nationalities, people of any faith and no faith. 






Refugee Community Kitchen

World Medicine will soon begin a new project supporting refugees in London. To mark this new venture for us, our Guest Blog today is written by Sasiki Hubberstey, who, in 2017 was one of hundreds of volunteers who served meals to refugees in the infamous ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais. Sasiki recently made a ‘virtual’ return visit to Calais as part of our team of ‘Chaparda Challenge‘ walkers covering the distance from York to Chaparda in India, so we asked her to recall her time working in the Refugee Community Kitchen.

Refugee Community Kitchen, Calais, 2017

351bc05e2976a7a81e51cdfccfe82c8760a0c0a12,750 meals each day.

That was the provision for the refugees stranded in the forest squats around Calais and Dunkirk when I volunteered several times in the RCK kitchen that year. Huge platefuls of rice and curry, salads, condiments, freshly cooked twice a day – with a good dollop of love and singing thrown in – by a team of volunteers, some long term, others, like me, for a week/weekend/month at a time.

Lone teenagers, families with babies, lone men, and a few lone women, from Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Sudan…. Dispersed across France when ‘The Jungle’ had been destroyed the year before, gradually making their way back, to restore their hope to reach family/friends in UK.

76% of the refugees that RCK asked had had their meagre belongings destroyed by a branch of the police twice every week, at night, since their arrival. Tents destroyed, shoes removed, pepper sprayed. Many had been there for months.

war_and_poverty_misc-5255RCK provided food. No judgement, no questions. (Others provided tents, shoes, jackets, chargers for mobiles, medical aid etc). A wonderfully heartfelt, positive, committed, well-organised, daily operation of a scale I’d never seen before! Twelve hour days of prepping vast pots of veg and taking out to the forest squats twice a day, to the long long queues, surrounded by police. And washing up, cleansing floors and work surfaces, doing laundry. And starting again early the next day.

In such extremities, such warmth, such gentleness, gratitude, love, humility. One of the most moving places to be, ever. Thank you RCK x

Click below to watch a video on the work of the Refugee Community Kitchen.



Graduates Welcome!

For the past few years World Medicine has had an active policy of encouraging new graduates to apply for a volunteer post in our yearly Chaparda project. Although it may seem like a stressful idea to emerge yourself in a demanding multi bed clinic with a big daily caseload, there is something of the “baptism of fire” approach that has proved very successful and rewarding for our past graduates. There are few environments early in clinical practice that will provide the breadth and scope of experience that Chaparda affords. Our graduates will work either in the ladies or men’s clinic alongside 2 experienced practitioners. Generally, we would pair a graduate and practitioner for the first couple of consultations and treatments to ease into the pace and style of treatment and then we encourage them to begin their own work, under a nurturing eye!

The good thing about the setting is that no one is isolated, which means that if anyone is a bit anxious or struggling to establish a treatment strategy there is always someone to cast a quick eye and make a suggestion. We trust our graduates and they never fail to amaze us with their capacity to get stuck in and become valuable members of the team. Learning is always a 2 way dynamic and whilst we hope to model good practice for our graduates we are always up for learning from them too! One of the important things to remember is that multi bed treatments will always be different to the treatments that would be provided in a private, one to one session. The emphasis is on extracting the key information from our patients and providing a targeted treatment that best matches their need.

Because our patients return up to 6 times there is an opportunity to refine treatments, or add an adjunct such as cupping, moxa etc. Not everything needs to be done on that initial treatment! There is no denying that the clinics are very hard work. We put in a full day Monday to Friday and a half day Saturday. We definitely are looking for our graduates to be robust, flexible and grounded! The trade off is that we also have a lot of fun, our teams the last few years have been picked to encourage a sense of team stability and cohesion, and for sure the welfare of our graduates is extremely important to us.

Sally, Gary, Marta and Catherine, some of our more recent graduates have written blogs that can be found on the website that give a fuller flavour to the graduate experience.They are all thriving in their own practices now but am sure each of them would tell you that they absolutely loved their time in Chaparda with us, remaining very much part of our World Medicine family.

So, if you feel INSPIRED, up for a CHALLENGE and can spare 3 weeks to VOLUNTEER and are about to graduate ( or have very recently graduated) please do get in touch with us to request an application form. We generally interview over the summer with a view to travel in January of each year. (self funded*)

This year there will be an opportunity to volunteer with a more local project based in London, so if the idea of India is rather overwhelming but you would like to still be involved with World Medicine, than please do still get in touch. We definitely would love to hear from you!

*Every volunteer with World Medicine needs to be able to self fund their travel costs to and from India. Accommodation and meals ( and fabulous vegetarian meals they are too) are provided at no additional cost. We strongly support fundraising efforts to pay for your costs and every year engage the team in various activities in order to help you achieve this.


Local Sustainability

Blog post by Emma Vaughan, Trustee of World Medicine

The struggles of introducing local sustainability into our work in India.

35258766-645e-4967-bc2c-1af0452f43a3For anyone reading our blogs about World Medicine’s long term project in Chaparda, India, they will certainly get a flavour of the enormous popularity of this project. This is true for our hosts, the community we serve and the volunteers that commit their time and energy to it. There is a special energy and palpable buzz during our time there and over the years we have built up close relationships with the staff at the ashram and Jay Ambe hospital where we run our clinic.

Every year we have local staff that assist us for the duration of our work there… this may be clerical staff who book patients in and organise the waiting area, physiotherapists who come to assist in the clinic and more recently student nurses who we train to help us with specific treatments, such as cupping or moxabustion therapy. We see their input as enormously valuable to both us and to themselves. We try to model good practice in clinical care but also to demonstrate that empathy and respect should be part of the work when treating patients. Last year particularly we were able to see our local students gain confidence in their skills and witnessed their growing commitment to good patient care.

028This is incredibly important to us as a charity since we are mindful about our wider aims when delivering a complex project such as our Chaparda one. In the past, previous teams had explored ways of trying to encourage a self sustaining dimension to the project. We had been hopeful that by training local staff to use a microsystem, namely Auricular acupuncture, that they could continue to run a meaningful service for the community in between our visits. This was an ambitious target especially as acupuncture as a profession is rightly regulated to a high professional standard. ( we are self regulated within our professional body which requires adherence to a robust code of ethics and practice, professional accountability and a requirement for continuing education) This made it complex when considering safety and supervision in our absence. However, the other big issue that is a real block to local sustainability is migration of local staff. We find, that with exception of a few staff, many of the hospital staff do not have long term posts. Younger female staff often leave the area after marriage and other staff leave for opportunities in the cities. It is always lovely to see familiar faces but we also have to accept that sometimes we will only work with staff for one visit.055

I believe the future of our work in Chaparda is very much on a firm footing. The communities surrounding the hospital are familiar with our work now and we do see returning patients to our clinics which is also wonderful. We always remain open to ideas that will make the project more expansive and inclusive.. it’s important that we continue to build strong relationships there that support opportunities for local staff to develop their own skills and knowledge, so that wherever they end up working they take a sense of professional pride with them which we hope they achieve during their time working with us. We certainly value them!


A Spring in your step …

Yes, we are walking again.  Our eagle-eyed observers have commented that most of our fundraising involves walking, and there is a reason for this: its accessible to so many people.  The essence being that it doesn’t have to be an arduous marathon slog over swampy terrain in rubbish weather – all you have to do is step outside your door and put one foot in front of the other.  How easy is that?

Of course, you might want to check the weather forecast and put on some sturdy shoes – but its all about getting out into the fresh air.  Maybe your luck will be in and you glimpse a bit of early Spring sunshine, robins scrapping in flower beds, sparrows twittering in hedgerows.  Snowdrops are out there nodding their heads waiting for the first bees to venture out of their hives ……………..  and we too should venture out, breathe deeply, sun on face – and take the first step of many.

I’m fed up with talking about lockdown, the challenges and restrictions; you know them all as well as me, so I’m not going to. I am going to tell you about a brilliant challenge being created by WM that is accessible to everyone!  It’s a virtual journey from our HQ in York to the Jay Ambe hospital in Chaparda, Gujarat, where we run our annual acupuncture clinic. That’s almost 6000 miles!  Before you say “I couldn’t possibly walk that far” – well, of course you couldn’t – by yourself: but this is all about contributing to a team effort, so however many, or few, steps you take could all add up to getting to India in time for the next clinic in January 2022.

Your personal goals have a part to play here – its about getting out for a walk regularly, making it a habit and reaping the rewards of better health, having a (distanced) chat to neighbours and feeling your mood rise.

So, watch this space – details coming soon and perhaps you could raise some small amount to help our fundraising.  All money raised will be used to support World Medicine projects, and not exclusively Chaparda.

I hope you will feel inspired to join us, its going to be amazing!  Let’s do this!


Emma on 2021

Hello everyone!

Although we have been very quiet over recent months, much has been going on behind the scenes as it were! Firstly, we hope that all our friends at World Medicine are safe and well. 2020 was a very difficult year and so far 2021 continues to be challenging. We were unable to continue any of our projects due to COVID restrictions and so both the work at Grenfell and Chaparda were put on hold. Many members of our previous Chaparda team keenly felt the loss of being in India this year and so we were delighted that Barbara has managed to maintain regular contact with Babubhai at the hospital and have been reassured that the pandemic has not overwhelmed the community there. We intend to return in 2022 but will be cautiously planning for a few months to come before we make a final decision. We also have another exciting London based project in the pipeline which will be announced in due course.

This brings me onto FUNDRAISING! On Easter Day we are going to launch our CHAPARDA challenge fundraiser. Our intention is to walk, swim or cycle the entire length of the journey from our HQ in York to the Jay Ambe hospital in Chaparda. We aim to complete the challenge virtually, logging our journey onto an online platform which will help us map the journey ! Please don’t be put off if you think this sounds complex. Barbara, Dave, Jude and Emma walked a virtual West Highland way last week to road test the system with our IT support Chris supporting us ( literally) every step of the way. It is very straightforward! We will be looking for folk to sign up to our teams at a cost of £12 per person. This will cover everyone’s admin and registration cost etc. We will then link you to a fundraising platform in the hope that your friends and family might donate a little money to spur you on to help us complete our truly epic journey! More detailed information will follow but in the meantime if you or anyone you know are interested in taking part please contact emma@ world medicine.com and I will add you on to our fundraising what’s app group for easy access to information and support. All money raised will be used to support all World Medicine projects and not exclusively Chaparda.

We hope you feel inspired to join us, it’s going to be amazing.. !!!!

Let’s make 2021 a fabulous year of getting fit, being outside as much as possible and RAISING money for World Medicine!!

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Gujarati cuisine? Yes please!

A tribute to Sangeeta, our magical cook in Chaparda – by Marta Koszo, Chaparda volunteer 2020

My first encounter with vegetarian Indian cuisine was back in the ‘90s when as a teenager I came across some devotees of the Krishna Consciousness Movement. It was love at first sight. I was blown away by the richness of flavours, combinations of dishes, variety of spices, many of which I have never heard before. That love got even stronger when I travelled through India for a month back in 2007. Ever since, blending spices has been the essential part of my cooking. Even if the dish is not necessarily Indian, it would still have a hint of Indian flavours.

When I got selected to be a member of the 2020 team of acupuncturists to volunteer in Chaparda, I was over the moon! It really meant a lot to me to be able to help and provide care for people from disadvantageous communities. A small part of me was also super excited to go back to India and enjoy the flavours of my favourite cuisine. I’ve been told by some of the team members who have been there in previous years that the food prepared in the ashram is divine. I just couldn’t wait to taste it!

Gujarat is a dry state and predominantly vegetarian but there are also communities which incorporate non-vegetarian food in their platter. The ashram in Chaparda, the village where we stayed during our project, prepares strictly vegetarian food. The property spreads across a large estate with several facilities such as two guest house buildings, dormitories for college boys, elderly homes, a home for children with partial or total visual impairment a small temple etc. There is a large stable with cows producing enough milk for the entire ashram, acres of land where crops, fruit and vegetable are grown- all organic!

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Our breakfast was seemingly simple but lush with fresh fruit from their farm such as papaya, bananas, guava, medlar, and freshly baked roltli (type of flatbread). We would also often get caramelized peanuts for dessert or sweet balls made of dates which we would wrap up and take with us to the hospital to enjoy during our short tea breaks. Walking back from the hospital, either for lunch break or at the end of our working day, we would all wonder with excitement what Sangeeta had prepared for us. And we would be in for a treat every single time! Our lunch and supper were always cooked and comprised of rice, dal, fresh home made yogurt from the cows farmed on the estate, 3-4 different vegetable dishes (shaak or curry), a fresh salad, papadoms and rotli and ladu-sweets. The dishes would be served in a buffet style and we would carefully put two-three spoonful of each so as to be able to try them all. The abundance of taste and the mixture of spices would just explode in our mouth making every mouthful such a joy! Even if some of the dishes were spicy, we always had the homemade yogurt to extinguish the hotness of spices.

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During our first week in Chaparda on one of our lunch breaks, a cook came out of the kitchen and started serving something orangey that looked like a pumpkin potage from a distance. Then someone said “Oh, it’s mango purée, it’s delicious!” Well, I never heard of mango purée before but having tasted all the food so far, I knew it had to be nothing but delicious and I was so right! This delight in a bowl is one of the best things I have ever tasted and it has made it to the top of list of my favourites! Made out of their organic mangoes, so sweet, creamy and cooling, I was in culinary heaven. Gujaratis eat it with a bit of powdered ginger sprinkled over it and it gives the purée a little kick in taste and helps to digest it. Sadly, we couldn’t have it as a regular dish but on those few occasions we did, it was everyone’s highlight of the day, food wise.

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The second most memorable meal treat was a special dinner when Sangeeta and her little army of cooks made a South-Indian pancake- dosa feast for us. That experience was literally out of this world! Served fresh and hot off the pan, crispy on the outside but soft on the inside, filled with a vegetable mix and couple of cool chutneys on the side, she took us all again on a heavenly culinary journey. That was one of those moments that made you think “why do we have a limited stomach capacity” because we just simply couldn’t get enough of them!

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Sangeeta is a wonderful woman who would always greeted us with a smile, always positive and always very determined to fill us up with food! A few minutes after we would help our selves from the buffet, she would waltz out of the kitchen in her beautiful sari and take the big dishes from the buffet and start making rounds from one table to the other and try to sneak in on our plates another spoonful of curry, salad, a piece of rotli or some sweets. As you can imagine, I was among those who usually couldn’t say no to her cheeky smile and swift hands. Often she would just slide a piece or a spoon of something without us noticing it at all.

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I wholeheartedly appreciate her cookery skills because she would make at least one new dish for us every day. Her creativity in combining ingredients in not just one delicious dish but 6-7 different ones every day twice a day is worth every admiration and respect and I’m sure our whole team would agree Sangeeta is a 5 star cook! She definitely made our stay in Chaparda even more memorable!

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Blog Post by Catherine Watkins, Chaparda 2020 Volunteer

I have travelled to India a few times before my time with World Medicine in Chaparda and thought I remembered it well, however when we left the airport at sunrise I realised I had completely forgotten about the bombardment of sights and sounds on your senses!! India is like no other, an organised chaos seemingly disorganised to the newcomer!  Bet as you let go of where you have just come from and ride with it, the charm of India takes you under her wing and guides you along…with many laughs along the way.

1This was my first time volunteering with World Medicine; we were based in an ashram in Chaparda, a small village a million worlds away from the noise of the cities from where we had just come.  Here, you are immersed with sounds of the birds, insects, children playing, and women in the ashram clapping and singing.  It is so peaceful.  The grounds are full of organic fruit and veg and a family of dogs roam happily free with a stunning sunrise and sunset.


I recall thinking how modern the hospital was that we were to be working from, after a day setting up the clinic, selecting our own treatment area within the multi-bed set up, we were ready for clinic to begin.


We quickly form a daily routine, with early breakfast, morning clinic, delicious lunch, afternoon clinic, delicious evening meal, chatter and rest.


It was refreshing after the cold winter and busy festive period to be in such beautiful, peaceful surroundings practicing acupuncture 5 days per week with such a high turn over of patients and a great team.  We could gauge how busy our day ahead might be by firstly the number of shoes lined up at the hospital entrance and secondly the number of people sat on the mats awaiting our arrival up on the first floor of the building.  I must admit I succumbed to the wearing of socks and flip flips…those mornings could get so cold!


I was based in the women’s clinic; the majority of the women we saw worked hard in the farms and sought help for various musculo-skeletal problems associated with that type of work (predominantly back, knees, shoulder injuries).  There were also many women with varying degrees of numb extremities, pins and needles and digestive complaints such as indigestion and constipation.  I was surprised at how many of the patients were yang deficient (aka very cold!) but I soon realised that they walked around in cold wet socks all day, heat lamps and moxa were loved by these women.

Each patient was given access to 6 free treatments and it was fantastic over those sessions to witness the cumulative effect of the acupuncture treatment.  With the help of our fabulous translators, many of the women used percentages to express how much better they felt, however the most encouraging information was when we would discuss what they could do now compared with what they couldn’t do previously.

I would hear such encouraging accounts from them….

“I can now sit and eat on the floor with my family, rather than on a chair on the outside”

 “I can sleep on the mattress on the floor…I used to have to sleep upright on the chair”

 “I went for a walk yesterday so I could tell you how much it hurt, but it didn’t hurt at all!! I don’t remember when I was last able to walk pain free for 2km”  I recall this lady holding my hands tightly as she started to cry with appreciation.

“My hot flushes have completely gone!”

 “I have had a headache constantly for 2 years, no tests could diagnose why and no medication could help, my head has been pain free for 5 days, I can sleep again”  Over the 6 treatments this young woman greatly improved and gradually the number of pain free days increased.   When the pain returned it was at such a low level that no longer affected her quality of life, her face looked much more relaxed and she smiled again.  I would have loved to have been able to treat her for longer to see what further improvements could be achieved.  I sincerely hope they are able return again on the next visit for further treatment.

As I’m sure you can imagine, this experience was truly humbling and to have the opportunity to be immersed in nothing but Chinese Medicine during our time in Chaparda really highlighted how powerful the practice of acupuncture can be.  The three weeks we were there went so quickly and as well as feeling humbled, it was a whole heap of fun too.