On November 1st, Samuha Overseas Development Association (S.O.D.A.) held the Annual Fundraiser Dinner. For those of you who are new to my work, please read more about what S.O.D.A. and Samuha are is here. I volunteered at Samuha in January of 2011 and 2014 and they were both such great experiences that changed my life and career path, and I’m excited to now be on the board of S.O.D.A!
After a bit of a flight fiasco due to the weather, I finally made it into Prince George to attend the event. I met the rest of the S.O.D.A. board, the faithful supporters and benefactors, and also the passionate physiotherapist who’s heading to Samuha this year, Phil Sheppard! He’s also taking four lovely ladies from the UBC Physio Program as his students to share his experience. Check out Phil’s blog to keep up to date on all the action at Samuha this coming January!
Guests were welcomed into the Hart Crown Banquet Hall greeted by smiling S.O.D.A. members and had an opportunity to check out the wide array of silent auction items, get mehndi on their hands, or even try turban wrapping!
A singer serenaded us and our grumbling tummies just before we were served an incredible spread catered by Dana Mandi Indian Cuisine:
After we were beyond full, founder and president of S.O.D.A. Hilary Crowley explained the history of the organization and shared the stories of the some of the children and adults she’s seen benefit from Samuha’s work. It was touching to see how these children (about 20 years ago) with disabilities have grown into happy adults and are strong members of their communities, since Samuha has empowered them to live a full life.
Next, I shared my experiences at Samuha and how the organization has spurred a Butterfly Effect:
The Butterfly Effect:
‘The phenomenon whereby a minute localized change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere.’
Also explained as the concept where ‘the flap of a butterfly’s wings on this side of the world causes a hurricane on the other’.
– Five years ago, donors at this annual S.O.D.A. fundraiser generously gave, and the collective result enabled Samuha to continue operations for a few more years…
– In 2011, I went to Samuha for the first time as a Physio student, where a majority of my caseload turned out to be pediatric patients. I realized how I could harness my silly and creative side to make a difference in a whole family…
– I came back to Vancouver, landed a full-time position at Kids Physio Group, and now have serviced over 300 children in the lower mainland…
– My 2011 trip impacted me so much that I went back in 2014, with physio student Maegan Mak and over $9000 in donations that went straight to Samuha…
– Maegan Mak and Kailen Houle (both students on the 2014 trip) ended up starting their physio careers in pediatrics (which is a very underserved population in Canada!)…
– And now I’m hoping to go back in the near future to see how I can contribute again.
Phil then topped of the set by introducing himself and sharing his passion for rural and global health, which he’s dedicating his career to. He also showed a video of the four UBC Physio students – Sara, Josina, Madison, and Krysta – who are going with him to Samuha this year, check that out on his blog here.
It was such a successful evening, and S.O.D.A. raised over $10,000 to continue to support Samuha Samarthya!! Thanks to everyone who came!