- April 13, 2021
Say cheese…Snap! When you look at the picture above, what do you see? Perhaps humanitarian work in progress? Maybe a group of young adults taking a picture with local children who live in a semi-arid area? In both cases, you are partially right. The young adults captured in the image above are students from Moi University’s College of Health Sciences. They are accompanied by other members of a non-profit consortium of various academic institutions globally known as Beyond Science Initiative (BSI).
BSI’s ultimate objective is to empower young leaders to establish meaningful connections as they work towards having a strong positive impact within their local and global communities.
This picture captures part of their objective: community outreach projects. Here, they were coming from Kakuma Refugee Camp where they had, in partnership with Windle Trust Initiative, provided educational sessions and support for the refugees at the camp. On their way back, they came across a group of kids playing, joined them, and snap, took this picture.
How it all began
Founded in 2016 by a visiting Immunology professor from the University of Toronto, Dr Eleanor Fish, BSI was formed following the urgent need for homecare care outside clinics. Dr Fish, in partnership with students, built Amani shelter to take care of highly vulnerable children whose parents were receiving medical care. The shelter was a form of temporary stay for parents until they were back on their feet and could take care of their children. This was the genesis of more projects and successful initiatives to come.
Half a decade later, after passing the baton to students, more members joined forces to work together. With even fewer funds, the group pushes on with alacrity. So far the group has:
- Held 6 annual conferences with over 1000 registrars from over 100 countries around the globe where international scholars share knowledge on a global scale.
- Partnered with UK-based Charity Organization; Freedom4girls in the donation of 150 menstrual cups to local street women.
- They are currently working on Tumaini Children’s innovation Centre in helping street children integrate with society.
Other successes include frequent local school visits to offer support, donating masks during the COVID pandemic and providing tablets to children at Amani for educational purposes and entertainment.
Plans are underway to begin conducting health education and motivational talks at OSCAR Centre in Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.
With the onset of COVID, the main challenge is how to continue carrying out these activities. Special treats to the kids such as monthly birthday celebrations can no longer take place. Extra funding is also required considering most funds used in these projects are out of pocket. The good news is, sometimes, even a phone call, to check on the wellbeing of the children is enough to keep them going till their next visit.
Every little thing counts
What this simple story, captured in these images tells us, is every little thing counts. Anna Frank captured this philosophy in her famous words: “How wonderful it is that nobody wait a single moment before starting to improve the world”. The BSI team at Moi University is proving this to be true.
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