Yasmine Al Eliwa is a 6th year medical student at Kuwait University, who wanted to work for a social cause. Not just participate, but get involved in it completely; something that represented both the medical community and Kuwait. Thus, the birth of ‘Sarah AlBaghli Humanitarian Mission.’
Named after her colleague and comrade, Sarah AlBaghli who lost her life in a tragic motor accident, the foundation is an effort involving Kuwait University medical students who visit India every year to vaccinate children in rural areas against Hepatitis B. In addition to this, the Humanitarian effort also works towards education and women’s upliftment.
“Hepatitis B is listed as one of the top 10 diseases that can be treated to avoid death. Further research shows that India is among the top 10 countries where a lot of deaths could be prevented if only the vaccine was administered. The Indian government however does not provide the vaccinations for free and as a result a lot of children lose their lives.” Backed by research and a lot on conviction, a group of students came together and organized fund raisers at Discovery Mall in Kuwait for the cause. They also got themselves certified from W.H.O to be able to administer these vaccinations. The students were in it a 100%! On a parallel front they had colleagues working on finalizing locations, coordinating with NGOs in India and getting all the necessary paperwork and permissions in place to be able to bring their efforts to a successful end.
“In the beginning it was challenging to make people believe in this project but eventually we did manage to gather support. It take months of preparation to bring a student-run mission like to life but in the ned it was all worth it. My parents, friends and family have been very supportive throughout the journey.”
The expenses for travel and accommodation are borne by each student for him/her self.
The students have so far completed 2 missions to India. Each mission involves three trips to complete the vaccination dose. All their efforts have so far resulted in providing over 4,500 children vaccination against Hepatitis B, school supplies to 800 children, empowerment to over 100 women through their women empowerment project, healthcare to over 600 people living in slums through the Academiya Health Clinic, and are in the process of building an orphanage for girls in the memory of their lost friend Sarah AlBaghli.
The most rewarding moments for Yasmine are the feedbacks from the volunteers. Seeing them being stirred by their experiences with people who have less than others gives her the motivation to continue her work. Her dream is to someday work for Doctors without Borders.
“The success of this humanitarian effort is owed to each and every one involved. The volunteers, the doctors, the NGOs, Academiya at KU, and especially to the people of Kuwait. Had it not been for their donation and encouragement, we would never have been able to bring our dream to reality. In the end, every drop counts.”