A coalition of Rutgers students, faculty, alumni and New Brunswick community members braved the inclement weather on Saturday, October 11th to make the G.O.Y.A Project’s 2014 “Walk for Literacy and Health” a success by drawing attention to several key policy issues: from the need for early intervention to expose children to literacy materials to the role of education in rebuilding societies after natural disasters (such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti) and how literacy and health go hand in hand (as per the struggle to control the Ebola epidemic in West Africa).
The walk was staged between the Rutgers Douglass Campus to the College Avenue Campus passing through the heart of the city of New Brunswick.
Before the start of the walk, however, as organizers gathered mid-morning, preparing to start everyone walking by mid-day, earlier bad weather looked as if it would continue the rains which persisted through much of the previous night. But a refreshing breeze came through around 11 a.m. and the trickle of walkers increased.
“We really wondered if our motto of ‘rain or shine’ would do us in, but by 11 a.m. in just half an hour we distributed about 70+ t-shirts, especially as several organizations came out with teams,” said Jenelle Ramdeen, a member of the coordinating committee.
While this year’s walk continued to support literacy programs within the city of New Brunswick and a continued outreach to aid children in the island of Haiti, a special health focus was highlighted via the “Stop Ebola” campaign.
The speaker on the health issue was Dr. Mafudia Suaray, who grew up in Sierra Leone, West Africa. She started her college education at the country’s only medical school in the shadows of Sierra Leone’s brutal 11 year civil war. Under threat of their lives, her family was forced to flee Sierra Leone in 1997. Nearly two decades later she now specializes in Family Medicine and Community Health and works as an Instructor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Continue reading