The world these days has seemingly descended into gloominess and endless suffering. With each flicker of a news channels, the stories of how humanity is in chaos batters away at our faith in humanity.
As I sit in the comfort of my home writing these words, there are hundreds of Rohingya people in Myanmar getting killed.
What could be more tragic than to witness everything you ever loved being blown out? That the violence has been going on for a while with no stops to the flow of refugees makes us wonder when will we get our act together as a species.
However, turning my eyes away from this morbid reality also allows me to understand that humanity isn’t completely doomed. There are countless people who are trying everything they can to help the less fortunate, who refuse to sit and watch injustice, who by their selfless action, help restore faith in humanity; yours as well as mine.
“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
This famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi materialised in my head once again this morning as I spoke to Mr Nathan Burns, the Founder of Backpack Medics Australia.
Backpacker Medics, a brainchild of Mr Nathan Burns was founded in 2012. Driven by the need to give back to the community, this organisation has a simple yet profound goal at the core of its operations i.e. ; “to take effective medical care to those who need it most.”
Backpacker Medics provides mobile and self-sufficient medical treatment for remote and rural communities around the globe. It is a team comprising of highly qualified and experienced paramedics, doctors, clinical psychologist and volunteers who have what it takes to be their own inspiration.
While Backpacker Medics is wholly run on donations, they have an edge over similar organisations in that the model they have employed is extremely far reaching. This is because some of the places in dire need of help are well off the usual tourists trails, and the only possible access is on foot. That’s where the mobile Backpacker Medics come in with initial equipment and supplies snuggled into custom-designed backpacks!
“Our main values are self-reliance, motivation, adaptability, team work, integrity and physical endurance. We use this criteria as our strength to move forward and wholeheartedly help those affected by disaster, we just can’t sit back and watch them suffer”. said Mr Nathan.
The driving force within each member of the team was manifest physical in the period following the earthquake in Nepal in 2015. During this time, not only was Backpacker Medics on the forefront to extend humanitarian health services but was also able to form a ‘Disaster Response Group’ to be better prepared for future disasters
Another laudable achievement they facilitated was the “Kerasawara Women’s Health Initiative” which aims to ‘train the trainer’ by raising the traditionally poor level of women’s health and education in Nepal.
In the wake of the spiral of violence & Rohingya Muslims leaving Myanmar, it is extremely heart-warming to know that recently Backpacker Medics has sent a second deployment to Bangladesh while a third one is almost ready to join them.
They are doing their best to maximise the effectiveness of special health care services being offered to disaster-stricken Rohingya refugees. Mr Nathan enthusiastically informed us about the setup of local health clinics in Bangladesh with the assistance of local doctors.
It’s people like Mr Nathan Burns and his team who prove that our lives can be lived for any kind of purpose. Be it to advance our materialistic ideals in this world or to pursue a life lived by embracing service and selflessness to our fellow human beings. The choice will always be ours.
The world needs more people like him!