APPL Foundation is a societal organization which commits in various ways to the wellbeing of people living on and around the tea plantations in Northeast India. The organization was founded by the tea company APPL (Amalgamated Plantation Private Limited).
The project ‘Fungal Free Frocks’ was initiated by the foundation to decrease skin infections in monsoon time. Employees wash their clothing at the end of the day and due to the extreme humidity, it does not dry in time. Often, people then work in damp (under)clothes the next day, which quickly causes skin infections.
‘People are ashamed to go to the doctor with such an infection’, says Dhiraj Kakati of the foundation. ‘They use traditional methods, such as tobacco, to lessen the symptoms, but this does not help them much. Meanwhile, the infection easily spreads, because large families live together in a small home.
Thanks to our financial support, APPL Foundation was able to initiate an awareness program on 3 tea plantations. Of the 4000 people examined, 2200 turned out to have an infection during the monsoon period. With medication and special undergarments, many people could be successfully treated.
Through this project, attention was successfully increased for the first time for a disease that had been ignored for years. ‘The most important aim of our work is increasing awareness’, says Dhiraj Kakati. We want to ensure that treatment can be started in an early stage and that the spreading of the infection is prevented.’
There are about 1.000 plantations in the Assam region and we hope that other companies will develop similar campaigns in the following years in order to increase awareness of the infection.
The work of the APPL Foundation received a lot of attention from other companies and NGOs in 2019. In December, the first results of the ‘Fungal Free Frocks’ project were presented on a United Nations Foundation conference in Bangalore.