This article is an interview of Umar Ahmed Badami, a student in the seventh grade here at Stanford OHS. The interview is about Umar’s community service project, Share the Care.
Could you give an explanation of what Share the Care is and what projects you have done?
Share the Care promotes awareness and raises funds for patients in Asia and Africa. Our first project was in Uganda, where the funds raised went to a small hut-like clinic. I also raised donations for Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Research Hospital in Pakistan (they treat poor patients for free) and for cataract surgeries in India.
How long have you been doing community service work, and when did you become involved with Share the Care?
I’ve been doing community service for longer than I can remember. I started Share the Care in 2011 with the Ugandan project. Since then, we’ve raised thousands of dollars for various healthcare needs of poor patients.
Over winter break, you went to visit a nursing home. How would you describe your visit to the nursing home? How did the seniors react when you gave them their cards?
Before I went into the nursing home, I thought that it would be a place full of bright colors and lively, active seniors. What I saw took my breath away. The building was filled with the bleakest yellows and greens you could think of, and I only saw two seniors in totally separate areas, not even interacting with each other. The atmosphere was so depressing, I wanted to leave right away myself. How could any human beings live here, I thought. I asked myself, is this really what I want for myself when I grow up? I decided to make their lives somewhat happier by giving the cards to the seniors, and they were extremely happy about them.
Could you explain how you became involved with the Syrian crisis? What prompted you to become involved?
I read an article about starvation in a town called Madaya in Syria. It showed pictures of little children and old men as lean and gaunt as bamboo shoots. One forty-two year old man was so malnourished he could barely speak. Only recently, medical supplies and food have been able to reach the town. All of the equipment and food isn’t enough to treat all of the patients. I wanted to help the civilians stuck in Syria by raising donations for food and medicines for them. It’s hard to see a person starving and not do anything about it.
How do you plan to combat the many struggles Syrians are now facing in their daily lives?
Almost all of Syria’s population is homeless, displaced or in refugee camps. The remainder of the population is in the same condition as Madaya. My goal is to provide funds for medicines and food for those civilians who are stuck in Syria by raising funds for international aid groups. Through these groups, the funds will go towards the necessities in those areas.
What have you done so far to help the Syrian people, and what do you hope to accomplish?
I have raised donations for aid organizations working in the affected areas. My goal is to raise a few thousand dollars in donations in six months for the aid groups and make contacts within the groups so Share the Care and its donors can be informed about what the money is being used for.
Are there any other current projects STC is working on at the moment?
From the start of the fall semester, I have been doing monthly polio walks in my local community to spread awareness on a grassroots level about the crippling disease that has returned in Pakistan and Afghanistan. During the walks, participants will get information about polio and its vaccines. When they visit Pakistan, the people involved in our walks will be able to educate local communities there about polio vaccines, creating a domino effect in under-developed areas.
Images of patients with cataracts pre and post surgery
Compiled by Madeline Langdon