Do you love adventure travel? I mean real travel, the kind that gets you muddy and off the beaten path in the developing world. Well, then you should consider Not Just Tourists. This organization collects medical supplies from UHN and other partners, packs them into suitcases, and sends them with travelers (such as yourself) to remote clinics in need. The organization is 100% volunteer based and has been operating for the past 33 years. The Toronto chapter has sent about 2,000 suitcases to 75 different countries and has helped connect over 750,000 lbs of medical supplies and equipment to the developing world via aid containers.
Avi D’Souza, the Program Director and Founder of Not Just Tourists Toronto (NJTT) just came back from a trip to a small island off the coast of Madagascar where he delivered medical supplies.
“Greetings UHN Friends! I just came back 2 weeks ago from the most amazing trip to Mauritius and Nosy Be, Madagascar. Knowing that Mauritius was quite developed, I opted to take an NJT suitcase to Madagascar. Nosy Be is considered the tourist hub and island jewl of Madagascar. It is also known for spectacular diving with some of the most untouched reef in the world and plenty of whale sharks and humpbacks around. Travelling from the airport, there were significant levels of poverty, and the infrastructure could definitely use support. I was carrying a suitcase loaded witch bandages, gauze, tapes, gloves, IV kits, urinary kits, 3 stethoscopes and 1 Otoscope.
By speaking to locals, I was able to find a small children’s clinic, which desperately needed the supplies (Note – for NJT volunteers, you will have a prearranged donation site, you don’t have to source this yourself). Upon arriving, I could see a line of mothers and their children waiting to enter the small facility. The supplies were gratefully received by the doctor and I was told about the supply shortages which leave them unable to treat patients at times. They were especially happy with the brand new children’s stethoscope which we delivered. The delivery was the best thing I did on my vacation!
The bigger idea behind NJT is for travellers to step outside their comfort zones and connect with locals, forming deeper relationships. The project is about LOVE! NJT is also as much about the environment as we are about humanitarian work. Many of the supplies, which are sealed and in perfect condition, would otherwise have been thrown out.
UHN has been a great supporter of our work and we are very grateful to have you as partners!
Program Director, Not Just Tourists Toronto”
If you are travelling anywhere in the developing world, sign up to take a suitcase via their website www.njttoronto.com. If you are free on a Wednesday evening, feel free to drop by 240 Roncesvales Ave to help them sort and pack medical supplies www.njttoronto.com/volunteer