On September 9, 2009, Making Lives Better, a student organization dedicated to living lives of responsible leaders rooted in unselfish duty, personal growth, and integrity rooted in the mindset of international citizens was founded at Rollins College. I have been working on organizing a service trip to Nepal since last December and I am currently working on making this program happen through Making Lives Better. I am the Founding President and the rest of the executive board includes Vice-President Raghabendra K.C., treasurer Fabia Rothenfluh and secretary Emma Broming. Director of External & Competitive Scholarships Jayashree Shivamoggi, Associate Professor of Education Debra Wellman and Professor of Chemistry Larry Eng-Wilmot are our advisors.
As the members of Making Lives Better, we seek to do just that– make the lives of the unfortunate, destitute, and impoverished better. Through a ceaseless sense of duty, a strong will towards development along with personal growth, a pursuit of leadership in a world of apathy, and the unselfish desire to ease the suffering of those shackled in poverty and despair, we hope to improve the world around us.
Throughout the globe, nations exists that wallow in poverty. One such tragic example is Nepal. Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world. Almost one-third of its population lives below the international poverty line (US $1.25 per day). The living conditions and cultural expectations in Nepal have led to issues with both health care and education. Currently, a staggering 85 percent of the population lacks regular access to health care. Unfortunately, this lack of care has further exacerbated the health problems in Nepal, especially HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness. The prevalence of these issues is reflected in Nepal’s high infant mortality rate (47.46 deaths/1000 live births) and low total life expectancy rate (65.46 years).
Through Making Lives Better ten students and two faculty members will undergo an intense service immersion trip in the Doti district, one of Nepal’s most remote areas. The group plans to collaborate with Sagamartha Health Foundation (SHF) to make this happen, and the 13-day service trip is scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 7, 2010. The first nine days of the trip are dedicated to providing immediate health services to around 2,000 women, children, men, and adolescents in the Doti district along with educational materials, books and scholarship to the needy and deserving students. These children would otherwise be deprived of education: only a small 51 percent of children from the lowest income-quintile attend primary education. Education is one of the most important and fundamental steps to improving the lives of the children of Nepal. As an organization, we believe it is our duty to help those deprived of education and affected by HIV. Every child, affected or immune, is subject to a right to education. In collaboration with SHF and twelve doctors from the National Hospital in Nepal, Making Lives Better will provide life saving service, emergency obstetric first aid, family planning, screening, counseling and referrals for GBV and voluntary testing and counseling for HIV/AIDS and STIs through essential health camps.
It is our responsibility and duty as global citizens and responsible leaders to help and care for those who desperately need it. This trip to Nepal is only the first step but it is an important one step. This trip will won’t be easy but the good will generated and the people that will be saved and perhaps even begin the process of escaping the deadly grip of extreme poverty will be worth it. However, this is not just our journey. This is call, a call to all the citizens of the globe. Now is the time to act, to end this ceaseless apathy that seems to haunt the global atmosphere.