Local communities meeting global needs
Contemporary discourse on globalisation continues to emphasise the increasing interconnectivity between national economies, popular culture, and individuals. While people may never meet in person, through tweets, blog posts, or Skype calls, ideas and information have never been so rapidly communicated and shared.
As we can all attest, this heightened availability of information has made us profoundly aware of global poverty and inequity as well as the role we can play in addressing these problems. The idea of helping our local neighbour has now extended to our global family.
After working at MedShare for only three weeks, I have repeatedly witnessed the all-encompassing definition of who our neighbour truly is. Volunteers throughout metropolitan Atlanta come to MedShare to sort medical supplies for communities that they may never meet. Although volunteers rarely get to see who their service has impacted, they feel a very real sense of responsibility and accountability to bridge the gap between surplus and need.
While leading tours at MedShare, I often tell volunteers that every medical supply they touch has a life attached to it. The more stories I hear from recipients of MedShare containers, the more I can see the tangible global impact that local communities here in Atlanta are making.
Just this week, we received a letter from a Nigerian sponsor who visited the recipient hospitals that MedShare most recently shipped to. It is clear from her account of bare shelves and lack of basic biomedical equipment that the supplies sent from MedShare are meeting a need that is otherwise not being met. Similar to the volunteers at MedShare, the individuals receiving the supplies feel a powerful sense of solidarity with the people across the world who have donated their time and effort to send supplies.
I can only imagine how powerful it would be to unite the community at MedShare and the communities all over the world that are connected across lines of ethnicity, language, faith, and nationality in the fight for a more equitable world. Although MedShare is a non-profit based in Georgia, the volunteers and staff are part of a global community that reaches far beyond state boarders.
With a community like that, it becomes hard to determine where local ends, and global begins.