STAFF WRITER: MADELEINE SCHWARTZ
Close your eyes and think of your most valued possession. For some it may be a phone or an expensive purse, but for many people, their answer would be food or clean water.
The organization MEDLIFE, or Medicine, Education, Development for Lower Income Families Everywhere, was created in 2005 by Nicolas Ellis while he was a student at the University of Maine. MEDLIFE’s mission is to “help families achieve greater freedom from the constraints of poverty, empowering them to live healthier lives,” and now students at Manhattan College have joined in this undertaking.
MC’s new chapter of MEDLIFE began organizing at the start of last semester but has finally grabbed the attention of students on campus this spring. Club President Stephanie Nava, sophomore biochemistry major, developed a real passion for the club after she went on one of the organization’s trips to Tanzania, Africa last summer.
“I got to work with such great people; they are so humble and grateful to see you there,” she said. “The amazing experience that I had started the idea in my head and I thought that I needed to come back and share that with everyone.”
While in Tanzania, Nava worked in one of MEDLIFE’s mobile clinics where she shadowed doctors and helped by taking the vital signs, height and weight of patients. This program also heavily focuses on education. Children are taught everything from how to brush their teeth and floss, to how to write their name.
The overarching theme of MC’s new MEDLIFE chapter is that it is for everyone.
“It’s for anyone who wants to help and be a part of something bigger than they could have never imagined possible,” Nava said.
The next move for MC’s chapter is to send nine students to Lima, Peru this spring break and then hopefully even more to New Delhi, India this upcoming summer.
Veena Cherian, mobile clinic officer on campus, is traveling with MEDLIFE to Peru next month. The project that MC students will be working on while there will be a staircase leading up a mountainside.
“We get to put down the foundation and build the whole staircase from start to finish. I’m really looking forward to seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces once we are done,” Cherian said.
Gabriela Remache, social media and advertising officer for the campus’s chapter, sees working with MEDLIFE as an opportunity to spread awareness about how fortunate we are compared to others around the world.
“It is very important to know that there are people out there that can’t afford to visit the doctor or live too far away. We don’t think about who we will see if we’re sick or how we are going to pay for it, but for these people, that’s all they think about.”
All the members of MC’s chapter of MEDLIFE come from different majors and years but have one thing in common: they want to improve lives of others. These are motivated students who want to make a difference in any way that they can.
If you want to get involved, the club’s meetings are Wednesdays at 12 p.m. and the meeting locations can be found in the weekly calendar.