MSF office visit

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I visited the MSF Delhi office at Lajpat Nagar. This was my 3rd visit but it was very different from the previous ones. Aditi showed me the office and introduced me to the different teams- communication, social media, HR, finance and the director- Martin Sloot.

Everyone was very warm and cheered for me like I had done something really great. All I did was emotionally blackmail or harass 27 people into making a donation. And it was hard. I managed to raise 75% of the target amount. I cannot imagine how the MSF team manages to raise any money. Aditi introduced me to a lady who tele calls for donations. Ummm… I can’t remember the number of times I hung up the phone when someone called for a donation. Never… ever… ever… doing that again. I am going to hear this person out and ask him/her to send me an email with details to ensure it isn’t a scam. And then I will make a donation. I also met the person responsible for house visits to collect donations. And well… umm… I hate it when people come knocking on the door on a weekend and ask you to make a donation. I will not turn them away empty handed again.

When Martin asked me what do I do, I wanted to disappear from this planet.

“I sell a product that nobody cares about and which does not make the planet a better place. In fact, if it was banned nobody would even notice”

We also discussed how difficult it must be to find medical professionals who will volunteer their services in conflict areas like Africa or Afghanistan for very little pay and terrible living conditions. Aditi mentioned something very interesting- doctors/medical professionals from small towns are more open to this than people in metros. I think this is because of the corporatisation of the profession. There was a time people picked medicine because it was considered noble. Now it is all about making money and not paying taxes. But as a corporate slave, who is strictly in it for the money, who am I to judge anyone?

I mentioned to them how it would have been easier to raise money if the cause was for women or kids because it has an emotional appeal. In today’s world medical help is not a priority for people. War zones are another world away. Diseases like kala azar and TB are meant for the poor. Since MSF does not work in the area of diabetes and lifestyle diseases which affect the middle/rich class, why care about it?

Aditi explained to me how MSF in Mumbai only takes in TB cases which are rejected by all the other hospitals on the grounds that there is nothing else that can be done. AND they manage to cure 300 people every year. Imagine, being told by a top hospital that there is no hope for you. You get referred to MSF who not only cure you but also support you and your family through the trying time. Wow!!!

Martin Sloot also mentioned the bombing of the MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan few months back. It was bombed by US forces and not Taliban. People died- sick people, doctors, nurses, medical professionals. It is a very dangerous world we live in and it keeps getting worse with each passing day.

By the way, MSF does not take any funding from the government and raises money on their own. In India, they are working on various projects in Chattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Mumbai, Manipur, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana etc.

Overall, the visit was an eye opener and I came away feeling pretty shitty about myself but determined to contribute in any way I can.


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