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Bodytree’s students have come from various backgrounds and experiences. They have all had a passion to learn and to preserve their own and other Adivasi medical practices.

“I come from a tribal community who originate from the forest areas of Northeast India and Bangladesh. Chakmas traditionally practice indigenous medicine and in my language we call this “Boudyaali”. Sadly, my community is losing this tradition, like so many other customs. It is my wish to study indigenous medicine to help revive this tradition and help my people and others”.
“Many Chakma women still follow the ancient custom of weaving their own clothes. This is an important tradition to me personally and I find the weaving ritual is a form of meditation. My community are Buddhists and I regularly practice
Indigenous community: Chakma
From: Tripura, Northeast India
Indigenous community: Chakma
From: India
“I am proud of the traditional medical knowledge of my people. I want to learn about it and revive these ancient practices because I am interested to keep alive this indigenous medical knowledge. The old texts of Chakma medicine are written in Chakma language so I have learnt how to read and write this vanishing script.
I want to research the medical practices of other indigenous communities so that we can use appropriate traditional knowledge of different medical systems in a modern society. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to realise these wishes with Bodytree's help.”
Indigenous community: Chakma
From: Calcutta, India
“I want to help people through a healing process in a natural way - using traditional medicinal practices. For me this is important because I come from a community where people can't afford to pay for good health care. Traditional medicine for primary health care is effective and affordable. It can be taught to people easily so that they can make their own medicines. When I finish my studies I want to take the medical knowledge I learn with Bodytree back to my people so that I can help them and they can help themselves.”
Indigenous community: Nayika
From: Wayanad, South India
“Due to deforestation and the introduction of 'development projects', many tribal communities have been forced to move away from their indigenous ways of life, changing from living in the deep forests to living in modern society. For this reason, tribal communities are now facing more health problems than ever before. I want to study Ayurveda and indigenous medicine because I want to help improve the health problems of tribal communities and the society. I want to share the knowledge of indigenous medicine and bring back an interest in traditional practices.
The education that Bodytree is offering provides the opportunity to understand the practices of traditional medicine. We are learning about ancient traditions that are being forgotten in our communities, I feel this is really important because it will help to preserve these valuable practices for future generations. By learning this, we can share the information with the next generation, and they can share it with the next generation, and so the knowledge won't be forgotten.
I grew up in Kanavu, a school for tribal children from Kerala's Wayanad District. At Kanavu we share the traditional lifestyle, knowledge, music, dance and songs of indigenous communities in India. I want to continue this experience in my everyday life. I play triple drum, I sing and dance and I have been practicing Kalari martial art since I was 8 years of age. “
Indigenous community: Chakma
From: Mizoram, Northeast India
“I am the youngest Bodytree student. I want to continue my formal studies whilst learning about traditional medicine. Young women from my community are expected to get married by the time they are 18 years of age, but I have decided studying is more important for me. I want to learn many skills so that I can be helpful and knowledgeable. I want to be self-sufficient and not dependant on others. By completing my studies I will increase my opportunities. At Bodytree, the most interesting thing for me is preparing the different medicines and oils, assisting in the treatments, and helping people who come for treatment to get better.”
Indigenous community: Khani
From: Motamodu, Kerala, South India
“By studying at Bodytree I hope that I will be able to understand the theory of traditional medicine as well as the practice so that I can explain why certain plants are used for certain illnesses. In my community mostly people work as daily labourers. The income is very low and it is very difficult financially when a family member becomes sick. I want to create a clinic in my village that can offer reliable and safe health advice and treatment.
My grandmother is a traditional physician who specialises in poisonous bites and stings. Sadly she is too old to teach me now, she can't explain why and how things work. Knowledge like hers is disappearing and I feel the opportunity to learn at Bodytree will help preserve such knowledge. I will do my best to return it to my community and if I have the chance, to other tribal communities too.”
Indigenous community: Khani
From: Motamodu, Kerala, South India
“I am a self-trained artist and student of Bodytree. I want to develop a method of teaching children from my tribal community in tribal art and theatre combined with primary health care so that they can be creative and will know how to care for themselves. If children learn about medicinal plants they will respect them and appreciate the forest that we live in. My father is a traditional medicine physician and he teaches young adults, but I want to share the knowledge that I gain with more than a select few, I want it to reach the whole community by doing workshops and performances.”
Indigenous community: Paniya
From: Wayanad, Kerala, South India
“Sickle-cell Anemia is a big problem for my community, but not much is known about it. In my family we didn't know anything about it until my younger brother became sick and died. I have since found out that my elder brother and I are sickle-cell anemia carriers. I want to learn about sickle-cell anemia so that I can advise people and they can understand more about it and learn to manage and live with the disease. I want to learn which medicines can help and what preventive measures can be taken by people who have the trait to stop it from developing into a full blown problem. This is something that is essential for my community, my family and me. I am very scared of the disease that I am carrying. If I understand more about it, then maybe I won't be so scared.
After this course I want to practice what I learn here, to set up a clinic in Wayanad and help people in my village. I also want to run workshops that teach primary health care and other health related issues that are appropriate to different communities, through theatre, art and dance. The idea of Bodytheatre is something that appeals to me a lot. At Kanavu School I studied dance, singing and music for many years and I think it would be a very helpful approach to explain community health issues. “
Indigenous community: Nayika
From: Wayanad, Kerala, South India
“I have been studying Kalari martial art since I was 6 years old, and I have always been interested in how Kalari treatments can heal people. I came to Bodytree because I want to develop skills to help people with muscular and skeletal problems. I am fascinated by the body and how certain treatments and medicinal plants can heal people from conditions that in modern medicine would require an operation.
Ayurvedic medicine is normally only possible to learn if you are from a high caste community. Even with treatments, if people from tribal communities want help, it is difficult because of caste issues that prevent us from being treated by 'high-caste' people. I want to change this situation so that my community members and other Adivasi groups have access to this information and treatment.”
Sri Lal
Indigenous community: Khani
From: Njaranilee, Kerala, South India
“I am from a family of traditional medicine physicians on my paternal side. They practice the traditional medicine of my community. Since I was small I have observed how medicines are prepared, but I wasn't explained why or how the medicines work. At Bodytree I have the opportunity to understand more about traditional medicine - and not only of my community medicine, but other Adivasi medical practices and Ayurveda too.
My community medicine focuses on the distribution of medicines to heal people, but here I am learning about the body, about anatomy, breathing, yoga and exercise; about how the body works and how hands-on treatments can heal people with long-term results. I am learning how and why the medicines and treatments work, not just which medicines can help. When I am more experienced, I will be able to communicate this knowledge to people who come for treatment so that they will also understand the problem and eventually the whole community will be more informed and able to deal with health problems in a more appropriate way.”
Indigenous community: Paniya
From: Wayanad, South India
I want to be able to help the tribal people in the area that I come from. In Wayanad there are many tribal communities and I feel it is important that the traditions of our people continue. I am looking forward to practicing what I am learning at Bodytree, to helping and healing others and sharing the knowledge that I am gaining.
I spent many years at Kanavu School where I learnt to appreciate dance, especially tribal dances. For me it is important to learn many skills so that I am self dependant. I can drive a car and regularly drive the Bodytree jeep. I have learnt the basics of plumbing, electrical work, welding and metal embossing. At Bodytree we are learning to become self-sufficient.

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