The average person does seriously consider doing more for the less privileged, but we tend to fall short of our good intentions for a number of reasons. We talk a good game, but given the choice between actually doing something or just parting with a wad of cash, most of us gladly take the latter choice.
Don’t get us wrong, this isn’t an accusation. We’re just as guilty of the paralytic effect of first-world success. Keeping up with the Lees (the Singapore equivalent of the Joneses) and clearing the office paperwork occupies much of our energy. So when it comes to helping those who need it, especially far away in unfamiliar lands, our first instinct is to drop some dough at the problem and count it as a karmic win.
Not that there’s anything wrong with throwing money at problems (in some cases it has worked well), but the way many systems are, large organisations with hefty bureaucracies and agendas tend to gain the most of public donations. Then the money trickles down to the ground in drips and drabs. In the meantime, organisations that really need the funding are overlooked because they are busy working the ground.
One such organisation is Global Clinic, founded by Singapore-based surgeon Dr Myra Elliott in 1997. It started when Dr Elliott inspired a group of doctors to support the organisation’s volunteer medical missions to third-world countries, offering care to those who can’t afford it. Two of our A-Listers, Dr Marcus Ang and Shalen de Silva, are deeply involved in its projects. This year, AUGUSTMAN will also be getting its feet wet assisting Global Clinic on its upcoming projects.
The focus of Global Clinic’s work comes from three areas: basic care, using mobile units to offer healthcare and check-ups for people in remote locales; medical clinics that are temporary setups for everything from diagnosis to treatment and basic surgery; and finally surgical missions. Its work ranges from something as basic as vision checks to cataract surgery, cleft lip and palate surgeries and even obstetrics. There’s a broad scope of needs, and too little time to do more. The team comprises volunteers, and missions are entirely self-funded, so that monies raised for the charity go directly to providing medication, footing the cost of surgeries and other incurred expenses.
As Ang and de Silva point out, a cataract operation costs approximately US$100, and a cleft lip surgery might be around US$400. It’s inexpensive to most of us, but for those in rural places where they frequently live from hand to mouth, it’s a fortune.
The organisation works directly with local contacts to establish bases and galvanise energy and funds to enable its teams to go out to poor communities that need its services. It works with these bases on details of each mission, from funding and transporting equipment to making prescription lenses.
And this is where they could use the AUGUSTMAN reader’s chequebook charity – via our subscription at support.augustman.com or essential packs, available on shop.augustman.com, through which you can enjoy the magazine and contribute a cataract surgery to someone in Cambodia, and via upcoming A-List projects. You can also contribute directly at donate.augustman.com.
Your generosity and support is higly appreciated.