by Samantha Fernandez
The Lance – News Editor
UWindsor students had the opportunity to experience what it meant to be a part of a refugee camp during a demonstration on campus this week.
The University of Windsor’s club Doctors Without Boarders teamed up with World University Service of Canada Mar. 23 to teach students on campus about refugee camps.
A tent was set up in the CAW commons to show students what conditions in a refugee camp may look like and how people who live in these camps live. Inside the tent, organizers had photos showing different camps and services, they had information about what Doctors Without Boarders has done to work with people living in these refugee camps, and they had video content with interviews of people who live in these camps. This was all done to raise awareness among students.
Brian Hummel, the president of the Doctors Without Boarders club on campus, said not many people are really aware about what happens in these camps.
“We wanted to do this in a way that is interactive and memorable instead of just putting up a board, we wanted to create a whole environment to hopefully spark discussion,” said Hummel. “Access to healthcare can be hard to come by in a refugee environment, or access to education is another issue, so these are just some of the issues we are telling students about. We want students to realize the impact living in a refugee environment can have.”
With over three million registered refugees in 2014, Hummel said it is important people know the conditions these people live in and how they can help. Currently students are helping every year, with one dollar of their tuition money being taken every semester to be put towards a fund to bring a refugee to the university.
Lodai Peter, a student from south Sudan who was brought to the University of Windsor through World University Service of Canada (WUSC) to study chemistry, said life in Canada so far has been great.
“At the University of Windsor specifically we have a Student Refugee Program, and through WUSC we get a student from a refugee camp every year,” said Peter. “I think this is good because I get to meet different kinds of people, I’m sure I will be fulfilling my dreams of getting a higher education. When you live in a refugee camp this higher education is just a dream. I consider myself a better person because now I have the advantage of having a higher education.”
Abdullah Nassar, the VP of the Doctors Without Boarders club and medical student from the University of Western Ontario, said the Doctors Without Boarders club at the University of Windsor is unique because it is the only club to combine students from not only the University of Windsor but also students from Western.
“We want to spread awareness about refugee camps,” said Nassar. “Doctors Without Boarders have most recently been involved with the Ebola crisis, so they have been providing medical care to countries that have been hit with the crisis.”
According to Peter, who lived in a refugee camp for eight years, life living in a refugee camp was hard, but attending the University of Windsor allows him to pursue his dream.
“The experience of living in a refugee camp was horrible,” said Peter. “You face situations such as no good education, poor sanitation, poor shelter. We lacked some of the luxuries such as beds. This tent we have today is actually better then shelter in most situations.”
Although the club consists mainly of medical students, anyone is welcome to join. It is a brand new club on campus which was started this year.
“Doctors Without Boarders are not just doctors and nurses and front line medical professionals,” said Hummel. “They need a team to set up the hospital environments in remote places and there’s a big role for not direct health care professionals. We want students who are not in medical school to realise that if they think they may have a future in Doctors Without Boarders, they can most certainly join.”