The ICOM International Community
We are delighted to be working in partnership with overseas organisations to assist in finding volunteer Acupuncturists to contribute their skills for vital projects. Some are clinics that treat some of the poorest people in the world, others provide training for Acupuncturists where otherwise none is available. The community is also actively helping fledgeling Acupuncture colleges overseas with shared values to establish themselves.
Our International Outreach programme provides a fantastic opportunity for ICOM graduates to gain incredible clinic experience overseas. Many of our students have travelled to volunteer in projects in Myanmar, Nepal and a new project in Sri Lanka is currently being established.
Our Mission Statement
The mission statement for the International Outreach Programme is as follows:
- To facilitate the exchange of knowledge and direct working experience linking Acupuncture projects and Colleges internationally.
- To promote the spreading of Classical Chinese Medicine and its implementation to help local communities.
- To support volunteer Acupuncture projects in places of need.
- To provide support to fledgeling Acupuncture Colleges to get established.
- To facilitate international travel and mutual exchange of qualified Acupuncturists for the purpose of volunteering in projects as well as teaching and exchanging knowledge.
- To facilitate Acupuncture research internationally.
- To facilitate student/ teacher exchanges between colleges.
For over 10 years, ICOM Graduates and Acupuncture practitioners have been involved in a charitable project in Myanmar training Doctors at the Watchet Jivitadhana Sanga Hospital near Saigang City. The hospital was founded in 1984 as a charitable institution and provides low-cost health services to monks and nuns, as well as the general public. A purpose-built Acupuncture unit has now been added and groups of ICOM Graduates aim to travel there at least once a year to provide training and to treat patients in the hospital.
The project was established by Kirsten Germann and early on Peter van Kervel led a 5 year program leading to the international (WFAS) qualification for the Myanmar Acupuncturists. The volunteer programme is now run by Kirsten, Bea Erler and Jinal Shah, and they have been joined by Director of Clinic Sarah Major and other ICOM graduates to further the education programme. To get a real flavour of what it’s like to volunteer, read Sarah’s diary from one of the trips to Myanmar, and have a look through the photos below that have been taken over the years. If you are an ICOM Graduate with several years’ clinical experience and you’re interested in finding out more, contact Bea, Kirsten or Jinal to find out more.
ICOM is working with Nepal Pain Relief and TUKI to find volunteers for their wonderful programme in Nepal. Following the devastating earthquake there in 2015, NPR was set up to establish pain relief stations in two evacuation centres in Pokhara, working with the British Gurkha Welfare Scheme. Since then, further pain relief stations have been created in order to offer Acupuncture and pain relief services to the most affected areas. A permanent clinic run by NPR and TUKI now operates in Charikot. Their vision is for this clinic to become a fully manned healthcare facility.
The clinic is currently staffed by volunteer Acupuncturists and in 2019 two of our graduates Anna-Marie Wakeling and Caroline Crowther travelled to Nepal to volunteer with Nepal Pain Relief and TUKI, taking with them suitcases packed full of donations from fellow colleagues and students. In Nepal they treated hundreds of patients over the course of six weeks.
Trips to the clinic in Nepal are arranged once or twice a year, and are open to those who have just graduated from ICOM, or those with more experience working as an Acupuncturist. Volunteering with Nepal Pain Relief enables many more stricken people at the clinic to receive much-needed free treatment, when there is often little access to any other sort of health care. It also strengthens the compassion of our Graduates, providing them with incredible experience in providing pain relief to patients with a dire need for treatment for whole range of different conditions, often right at the very start of their careers.