Case Study / Palliative Care / Rwanda / Sustainable Futures

Holistic Palliative Care: International Day of Charity

09/05/2023 10:00am

Our Sustainable Futures campaign explores the values of Doctors Worldwide - integrity, collaboration, and clinical excellence - and how they are embedded in all of the work we do to ensure long-term, sustainable solutions to healthcare challenges. Today, on this International Day of Charity, we highlight one important element of our holistic and community-based Palliative Care Programme.

86% of the world population do not have access to palliative care and many are unable to afford it. People therefore often die alone and abandoned by family members who are unable to afford the care needed or give the full time support required due to facing their own levels of poverty and hardship.

At Doctors Worldwide, one of our core considerations is a focus on sustainability - with regard to actions, materials, and futures. We  aim to generate a positive long-term impact for the people we serve. This means that not only do we prioritise working with local community organisations in order to share resources, offer training, and ensure consistent service, but in the case of our Palliative Care Programme, we offer a broad range of support to patients in need.

We have been supporting a community-based Palliative Care service for 6+ years through a group of dedicated and committed volunteers and medical workers based in Rwanda. Our holistic approach means that we do not just look at the medical requirements of a dying patient, but other equally important and dignifying needs such as: access to a bathroom, providing shelter, psychosocial support, nutrition, financial support and continued educational support for dependent children. 

This International Day of Charity, we wanted to highlight an incredibly important element of our programme, which offers financial support for individuals to generate income independently through skills of their own, whether as a palliative care patient and breadwinner of the family or as a caregiver. 

international day of charity palliative care doctors worldwideAfter being diagnosed with cancer and HIV and receiving treatment through our Palliative Care programme, 43 year old Maria requested to re-start the small business she used to run prior to her illness. Our team supported her with her business plan, and in January 2022, her project was financed thanks to your donations, meaning Maria is now able to financially support herself through the running of her new boutique, selling potatoes, bananas and other fruits and vegetables. 

international day of charity palliative care programme doctors worldwide

Paul is 21 years old, and the son of one of our palliative care patients. After graduating from high school in 2022, he was unable to access a scholarship to university or find a job. In order to help support his family, he instead decided to pursue a part-time culinary arts course and work towards his dream of becoming a chef. Thanks to your donations, we covered his monthly travel expenses, so he no longer had to walk the many miles each day between his home and the training centre. In June 2023, Paul completed his training in restaurant servicing and catering, and is now currently awaiting the start of an internship at a nearby hotel restaurant. 

international day of charity palliative care programme doctors worldwide

Atelier Sur-Mesure is a sewing business, which specialises in modern and stylish women’s clothes. Sur-Mesure was founded in 2019 by 50 year old Zainab, who has offered her free time since 2015 to volunteer as a caregiver for our Palliative Care Program. Before joining our team, she worked as a tailor, but was unable to earn enough money to support her family’s needs; as she carefully created clothing by hand, she was unable to produce enough clothing to sell to each day. Thanks to your support, we were able to purchase her a new sewing machine, and since then, her productivity has increased enormously. Furthermore, despite the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown closing many businesses, Zainab was able to continue working from home with her sewing machine, and began creating face masks to sell too. 

This International Day of Charity, support the work of our holistic, community-based Palliative Care programme and help those like Maria, Paul and Zainab to become financially independent and support their families and loved ones: 

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