18 year-old Parvin is a happy, healthy young woman. She and her husband don’t yet have children, but they hope to do so one day. For now, they are busy working and planning their future. But this young lady’s story could have been so very different.
Nine years ago, Parvin fell sick. She had a terrible pain in her stomach. Her dad, a fisherman in rural Bangladesh, took her to local doctors, who diagnosed appendicitis, handed out painkillers, and advised an immediate appendectomy. Without surgery Parvin would almost certainly die.
There was no way her parents could afford this operation. It cost the equivalent of just £63, but this sum, so insignificant to most families here in the UK, was way beyond the pocket of this family in Bangladesh.
Fortunately for Parvin, a small team of Global Care volunteers was visiting the work of Global Care’s partners in Bangladesh, Love Your Neighbour (LYN). Parvin was a student at the informal school run by LYN in Horintana, and when the family came to the school with their worries, the UK volunteers immediately offered to cover her costs.
Surgery went well and Parvin recovered with no further complications. “She became healed from a big unmanageable risk” say our partners. “She is completely OK and can do everything. She has not experienced any troubles after she was operated.” Today she and her family have moved to Dhaka, where Parvin works in a garment factory, and her husband in a shop. When our partners tracked her down for the purposes of this article, “the parents and family expressed their thankfulness to LYN again, for extending a loving and serving hand to their child.”
A happy ending? Yes. But, thankfully, it became a happy beginning too. Many more children have benefited from Parvin’s near-tragedy in the nine years since her moment of crisis.
The Global Care staff and volunteers on the team were disturbed. It was only by chance that they were visiting and able to respond immediately to Parvin’s crisis. What would have happened if she had fallen sick the following week? She might have died. Our partners were operating on a very tight budget, and by the time they had applied to the UK for extra funds, it could have been too late.
In answer to this dilemma, Global Care’s Medical Response Fund (MRF) was established. For the first time a small fund was made available to all our international partners, allowing them to respond immediately in a case of medical emergency. Without the need to apply to the UK for additional funds, partners could step in immediately when a medical crisis arose in the lives of any child known to the project, without compromising their budget. Their ‘emergency pot’ would be topped up from the UK, once they had reported how it had been spent.
In the nine years since Parvin’s emergency operation, the MRF has been quietly saving and changing the lives of sick and vulnerable children around the world.
From road accident victims, head injuries and broken bones, HIV crises and attacks of malaria, dengue and typhoid fever, to parasitic infections, burns, scalds and dental emergencies, more than 150 children have received emergency treatment through the MRF in the last five years alone.
Administered through our Children At Risk fund, it has become one of our most effective means of helping children at their time of greatest need, and has proved time and again that even small amounts of money can change lives forever.
Just ask Parvin