Better Lives Foundation (BLF) is a charity that aims to develop a support structure to improve health and education for those in developing countries. They work actively to provide the required support in areas where it is currently unavailable or scarce. As administration is voluntary, all donations go directly to patient care – this includes pre- and post-operative care where required.
BLF Volunteers cover their travel and accomodation costs themselves, as well as providing free care at the medical camps that are in several countries across the world. One such volunteer is Gobika Mohandas, who is a pharmacist in the UK. Gobika travelled to Sierra Leone with BLF earlier this year, and here, she shares her experience in her own words…
In September, I travelled to Sierra Leone as a pharmacist with the charity Better Lives Foundation (BLF). BLF has been established for many years, and in 2010 inaugurated a Primary Health Care Clinic in the remote village of Yonibana (88 miles from the capital, Freetown), with the aim of sending healthcare professionals and general volunteers to provide free medical and social care three times a year. In Sierra Leone, as in many other developing countries, medical care is not readily available thus, locals travel many miles by foot to be seen.
Not knowing any of the other 23 volunteers prior to my involvement, I did have a few apprehensions but soon these were put to rest. The group immediately gelled – we left for Sierra Leone as strangers, and returned as life-long friends. We all worked well as a team, integrating with the local volunteers who gave us the drive to work long days in the heat, leaving our home comforts behind. In 6.5 days an impressive 2940 patients were given medical/dental care and 37 surgical operations were performed.
My trip to Sierra Leone was definitely eye-opening, making me appreciate how fortunate I am to live the life I lead. I could not possibly write about all my experiences, so I made a video about the work done by BLF volunteers on this trip [this can be viewed below]. I hope to get more involved with the charity by helping to raise funds, by collecting and packing medical equipment prior to camps, and hopefully I will travel back to Sierra Leone in the near future.
For more information on the charity and ways to get involved please click here. BLF are always on the look out for volunteers to join their cause. To find out more about volunteering, and how to get involved, click here.
The Better Lives Foundation is UK-registered charity number 1122290