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"Beyond humanitarianism – Africa’s potential"
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"Beyond humanitarianism – Africa’s potential"

Eric OmwandaThe tireless work of Canadian humanitarian and doctor James Orbinski shows what is possible to make the world a better place, writes Eric Omwanda, 23, a Correspondent from Nairobi in Kenya. With more of this spirit in Africa, Eric contends, the continent can reach its true potential.

James Orbinski is a living example of a true humanitarian. His contribution towards serving humanity is unlimited. His character tells it all. You need not to be told about his work more than once.

I vividly remember when he was beginning his mission, he visited mostly the war-torn areas of Africa and familiarized himself with the local people. His mission in Africa was not only the most successful, but also the most adventurous.

While he was in Somalia he saw how the local people were adversely affected by war. Children nine years old and under were displayed with their families. James noticed that the affected families needed psychological support, food and shelter. He did his best to ensure that the minds of these families were settled, and that they could eat and have access to good shelter. At this time James was a President of Medicine San Frontieres.

On his visit to Rwanda, he passed through Nairobi, Kenya. Back then the roads were dilapidated, garbage was on the streets and many beggars were shouting at white people asking for help. He had been warned about this kind of behaviour, associated with disadvantaged people from Nairobi.

He went to Rwanda during the genocide in 1994. He knew how the Hutu and Tutsi turned against each other to settle their political grievances, although today they coexist as brothers and sisters.

James visited one of the hospitals where he found that there was only one nurse in a facility that had more than 400 patients. She informed James that most of the patients were infected by HIV and AIDS. Their condition had deteriorated since the treatment for the same would cost around USD$1500 to $2000 per year. As the president of  Medicine San Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) at the time, James met with senior people and discussed how the anti-retroviral drugs could cost $20 per year – a milestone in the fight against the pandemic. James would later become the co-founder of Dignitas International, an organisation which supported people affected with HIV and AIDS.

It is time that our governments in Africa stepped up to support its citizens. This should be the sole purpose of any genuine government. We should be part of the solutions that are offered by philanthropists from other continents. We may not be able to achieve all of the urgent goals at once, but I am certain if we can improve our health care system, infrastructure, political tolerance and food security we can definitely go far as a common people. With time we will get there.

photo credit: k-ideas via photopin cc
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About me: I am aspiring to be world class journalist who will share stories beyond my community and countries because stories happen beyond set boundaries and they need to be told.

My interests are issues affecting humanity either positively or negatively, taking photos and videos. You may kindly visit http://matharefoundation.blogspot.com

Currently I  am a freelance journalist based in Nairobi. I do commercial video production and photography when hired by clients.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit:
http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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