A Partnership in Caring

By Sarah MacDonald

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  - Margaret Mead

The above quote by Margaret Mead is the motto for the Partnership in Caring team in Antigonish, N.S., as it continues to fundraise to support enhancing the quality of health care and health of the people of Rwanda.  Now in its fifth year, the group is doing this through collaboration, financial support and volunteer commitment.

The Partnership in Caring team was established in 2010 as a collaboration between St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish and Butare University Teaching Hospital in Rwanda, Africa. This volunteer organization has been travelling to Rwanda at its own expense since 2011, bringing funds for food, transportation, medication and diagnostic testing for inpatients who do not have insurance.

The volunteer team provides education sessions for hospital staff as well as funding for nurses to train in areas such as palliative care, mental health, wound care and newborn care.

In addition, they have also purchased equipment for the hospital such as stethoscopes, pulse oximetry, blood glucose meters and mattresses.

“We are so happy to be able to collaborate with the staff at the Butare University Teaching Hospital,” said Marie VanVonderon, one of the five volunteers who recently visited Butare with the Partnership in Caring team. “We have worked with the social work and dietary departments there to learn about the inpatients dietary needs, and then respond by buying mass amounts of food when we arrive in Butare. We’ve purchased rice, beans, formula for babies, small fish, dried fish, anything that we can do to help with food.”

In addition to their work with Butare University Teaching Hospital, the team also supports the ADAR Orphanage. The orphanage helps people with disabilities from within and around the community. This year, the Partnership in Caring team was able to provide the orphanage four new wheelchairs, as well as a new medicine cabinet stocked full with supplies.

The Partnership in Caring team is now busy fundraising for their next visit, which is scheduled for 2016. They have held community events and stage booth around the Antigonish area at local markets and Christmas craft fairs.

“We have a responsibility as global citizens to help each other,” said VanVonderon. “I believe that at the local level, and I believe that we have a global responsibility to do that.”

For more information on the Partnership in Caring team or to join or support this initiative visit their Facebook Page at:  https://www.facebook.com/A-Partnership-in-Caring-198694633506560/?fref=ts or check out their YouTube Video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMES0sflFyg