When a country is a battleground, and millions of people helplessly suffer from illnesses and are forced to cower in a time of war, Doctors Without Borders is there to help those in need.
Doctors Without Borders is an international organization that was established in 1971 by a group of French doctors after the 1967 to 1970 Biafra succession, also known as the Nigerian Civil War. The organization’s goal is to aid war-torn regions or areas suffering from epidemics. It has also worked to provide medical training and health care to people in over 70 countries. Its efforts toward bringing help to troubled countries and information about humanitarian disasters to the international community have caught the attention of many Stuyvesant students, and a club modeled after Doctors Without Borders hopes to raise awareness for the famous organization.
The club, which was founded last fall by junior Nina Wade, has been actively working hard for its cause, despite facing hardships.
Like other new clubs, Stuyvesant’s Doctors Without Borders needed ways to find members, increase participation, and show the Stuyvesant community their club’s objectives. “I started this club because I’ve always been interested in medicine and international relations. I’m also in Model UN, and Doctors Without Borders is a charity I’ve always cared about.” Wade said in an email interview. “[Stuyvesant’s] Doctors Without Borders aims to raise awareness for the [national] organization, as well as funds. We also want to raise as much money as we can for the organization, because in countries with no basic medical infrastructures, every dollar helps.”
The current 24 members typically meet every week. At the meetings, members discuss current events occurring around the world, issues the national organization targets, and future club events, such as fundraisers. “We usually start off by discussing recent happenings in the global community and then we ask if any members have a specific issue they want to talk about,” junior and club member Sofia Wyetzner said.
The club has already completed several events, one of which was a screening of the movie “Philadelphia,” about a man who faces discrimination and other obstacles after being diagnosed with AIDS. At the time, AIDS was the main focus of the national Doctors Without Borders. Another event, which took place on Monday, January 16, was planned in order to help decrease students’ stress before the lengthy testing of finals week. Members of Stuyvesant’s Doctors Without Borders club set up a table near the bridge and gave students the option of getting a hug or free Hershey Kisses as anxiety reducers. The purpose of the event was also to raise awareness for the national organization by introducing it to Stuyvesant students.
The club will host a table reading of the book “Dear Me” in late May in Stuyvesant High School as a way to fundraise for the national organization. The specific time and place for this event has yet to be decided. The book, edited by Joseph Galliano, is a compilation of letters that 75 celebrities wrote to their 16 year-old selves. The collection is filled with advice, guidance, and words of comfort. “We’ll also be collecting letters from students to themselves — future, past, the day before, anything — and reading a few in the mix, and printing the rest in the programs [for the event] or publishing them on a blog. We’d also like to have a guest speaker come to Stuy,” Wade said.
In addition, to raise more money, the club will sell copies of the book at the event. In the short time since its inception, Stuyvesant’s Doctors Without Borders has already reached out to many Stuyvesant students. The club cleverly incorporates medical aid and international affairs in raising awareness and money for its national counterpart. Though there have been struggles, they haven’t diminished the club’s hope to raise awareness for the many global issues that often go unnoticed.
Nina Wade had no part of the editing of this article.