Archive for : Africa

Repair Interview: Julie Nusbaum of World Altering Medicine

Imagine going to the hospital with a serious illness and finding out that the basic machines and medicines needed to treat you simply weren’t there. It’s hard to imagine, but in parts of the developing world, particularly in Africa, that scenario happens all the time.

It’s also why Dan Dewey and Kevin Bergman, two friends and fellow doctors, founded World Altering Medicine – an organization dedicated to providing medical care to needy patients, particularly children and families, in the developing world. Founded in 2006, WAM has already made incredible strides in changing the medical landscape in the communities where they work – and they are just getting started.

Julie Nusbaum, who is WAM’s Marketing Director (and Kevin’s sister) took a few minutes to speak with Repair the World about the dire medical conditions in Malawi and other parts of the developing world, what inspired her to get involved with WAM, and how kids and teens can make a significant impact on their work.

What was the inspiration behind World Altering Medicine?
The organization was founded by two ER doctors who did their residencies together, Dr. Dan Dewey and my brother Dr. Kevin Bergman. Throughout medical school Kevin did volunteer work in Africa and Dan had served with the Peace Corps. They could not believe what they saw in hospitals in Africa, and particularly Malawi.

In Malawi the child mortality rate is very high, and a lot of that has to do with the lack of oxygen concentrators in emergency rooms. A large percentage of the illnesses in Africa have respiratory components and if kids can’t breathe, they can’t get treated. Without oxygen machines, doctors literally had to choose which patients to treat based on who they thought had the greatest chance of survival. That’s why one of the first projects WAM did was take a small amount of seed money to buy 22 oxygen machines for hospitals – that’s our Breath of Life program.

Find out more at the video below:

What other services and programs does WAM provide?
Read more

Repair Interview: Tatiana Grossman of Spread the Words

When Tatiana Grossman, a book-obsessed high schooler in California, found out that thousands of young children across Africa don’t have ready access to books, and that 35 million kids in sub-Saharan Africa don’t have access to education, she decided to do something about it.

Tatiana’s inspiration led to Spread the Words, a project she started to help improve early childhood literacy in Africa by creating physical libraries, by encouraging kids to write their own books, and by developing digital teaching materials for classrooms. Pretty cool stuff for someone who simultaneously has to deal with homework, extracurricular activities and college applications!

Tatiana took some time out of her busy schedule to tell Repair the World about how Spread the Words works, the super-lightweight digital educational projector she’s developing, and her lifelong commitment to tzedakah and tikkun olam.
Read more

Skilled volunteers sought for Rwandan youth village

The Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV) is a safe and structured residential community for orphaned children in Rwanda. The Village, which opened its doors to its first class of students in December 2008, is a place of hope where traumatized youth can “dry their tears” (Agahozo) and “live in peace” (Shalom). In December 2010 the third class will enter the Village, for a total of 378 students.

Within this caring environment, the rhythm of life is restored, so that youth who have been through great trauma find a home and a community, as well as a place to learn and become leaders for tomorrow. The youth who come to live and learn in the ASYV will grow into healthy adults who are not only able to care for themselves and their families, but who are also committed to making their community, their country, and indeed the world a better place.
Read more

Weekly Torah: Parshat Beha’alotcha 5770

This post is part of a weekly series of Torah commentaries presented by the American Jewish World Service. It was contributed by Rachel Farbiarz.

In Parshat Beha’alotcha, the desert Israelites are hungry again. This time, they are ravenous for the savory leek, onion and garlic; the refreshing cucumber and melon; and, above all, for the flesh that they remember from Egypt. Consumed by their famishment, the people cry out to Moses: “Now our soul is dried away; there is nothing at all.” ((Numbers 11:4-6.))

Moses cannot abide this last wail of desiccation and—brittle now himself—he cracks. He takes on the people’s sensation of withering, mirroring it in his own anguished plaint to God:
Read more

Weekly Torah: Parshat Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5770

This post is part of a weekly series of Torah commentaries presented by the American Jewish World Service. It was contributed by Aviva Presser Aiden.

At the outset of Parshat Kedoshim, all Israel receives the nebulous command of “kedoshim tihiyu…You shall be holy, for I am holy; I am the Lord your God.” ((Leviticus 19:2.)) The text then proceeds to enumerate numerous laws appearing to detail the requirements of this injunction.

Within this collection of verses we find an interesting parallel: In Leviticus 19:3, the text dictates that part of fulfilling the commandment to be holy includes the obligation to “… revere [one’s] mother and [one’s] father, [and to] keep my Sabbaths, I am the Lord your God.” ((Leviticus 19:3.)) Toward the end of Chapter 19, a second verse, also linked to holiness, structurally and linguistically parallels 19:3 quite closely. It requires that “you shall keep my Sabbaths and venerate My Sanctuary, I am the Lord.” ((Leviticus 19:30.)) In these two verses, the language of Sabbath reverence is identical, and the word for reverence—tira’u—is used in relation to both parents and the Sanctuary.
Read more