A journey to discover the people who change our world.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Young and Able.. meet AYUDA

American Youth Understanding Diabetes Abroad may seem like a bit of a mouthful, but there is indeed bite to their work. AYUDA started out when two 15 year olds, Nick Cuttriss and Jesse Fuchs-Simon when to Equador for a summer. They encountered a young boy with Diabetes, whose parents were doctors, who could not afford his medical care. Nick and Jesse ended up raising finance and support to bring the boy to the United States for care, but they soon realised that they could not do this for every child. Instead what they realised was that they could help deliver diabetes management skills to those with the illness- which was a huge gap in medical provision in Equador.

To bridge the gap Nick and Jesse start summer diabetes camps for children with the illness, enlisting local and international volunteers to run the camps. It had a two part knock on effect. Firstly, the children who needed access to information on how to look after themselves could not access it more readily, and secondly, by engaging a whole band of young volunteers, it catalysed a wave of young support and commitment to tackling such problems.

I got to meet Nick in Ayuda offices in Washington, along with Merith Basey, a former volunteer which the team who is now working full time.

Still in their early twenties, Ayuda is a prime example of the potential of young people to effect solutions- when given the opportunity. At 24, Nick is an old hand!

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