Trip to Tanzania was an honour and a privilege - Derry doctor

Dr DeBurca with Richard Moore
Dr DeBurca with Richard Moore

A Derry doctor has revealed how a recent trip to Tanzania with Children in Crossfire was a life changing experience.

Diarmuid De Burca, a GP from Aberfoyle Surgery, travelled with a group of volunteers including charity founder Richard Moore and JR McLaughlin on a seven day cultural visit to see Children in Crossfire in action.

The group saw many aspects including the Children’s Cancer Care Programme which the previous week had moved to a new and improved ward. This ward is the only facility of its kind in eastern Africa as it offers free chemotherapy treatment to young children suffering from cancer.

Since Children in Crossfire’s involvement in 2008 there has been a huge increase in survival rates.

The group visited a Community Disability Centre in Moshi where Children in Crossfire are working in partnership with a local organisation to reduce the occurrence of disability in young children by increasing access to early intervention and rehabilitation services.

One of the final visits was to the remote village of Miwaleni where generous donations from Children in Crossfire supporters have helped construct a health clinic. Before the clinic, the villagers had little access to medical facilities and often had to undertake an extremely long journey which was impossible during the rainy season.  The villagers now have access to health facilities on a regular basis and advice on issues such as nutrition and well being.

Over £50,000 was raised by the group in order to participate in the visit.  It was exhilarating and life changing experience for all involved. 

Dr De Burca said: “Through our cultural trip to Tanzania we were most privileged and honoured to be allowed into the heart of the the organisation that is CIC to meet embrace and learn from the people whose lives depend on it. We had a unique opportunity to experience and study the interaction between the providers of the services delivered by CIC and their main beneficiaries: primarily the children on the ground in some of the most deprived communities on the planet.

“Guided by Richard Moore himself and JR McLaughlin who very much represent the axles of the organisation, we visited several high impact projects all testament to careful and diligent local and national needs assessments and unrelenting tenacity in fundraising and delivering the essential services identified.

“Everywhere we went we were met by larger than life awe inspiring individuals who headed CIC funded projects which had already become or were fast becoming self sustaining and far greater than the sum of their individual parts.

“One figure I can’t get out my head is the relatively paltry sum of £148 which is all that is required for a full course of chemotherapy drugs to cure a Tanzanian child of one of their most common presenting tumours, a retinoblastoma. It’s so easy to imagine such a sum being squandered by a less focussed, less organised or less integrated NGO without a delivery infrastructure on the ground. CIC’s intelligent and integrated organisation ensures every penny has maximal impact where it counts.

“To encapsulate the impact of our trip in a few words I felt many of the group were visibly inspired to move from a less passive to a more active compassion for our fellow humans. CIC’s patron His Holiness the Dali Lama reflected this concept somewhat more eloquently when he said: ‘Every individual has a responsibility to help guide our glodal family in the right direction. Good wishes are not sufficient; we must become actively engaged.’”