With no nearby healthcare available in the immediate area, and unable to afford a taxi to attend hospital, Rosie was left to suffer in isolation.

Image credit – Hennie Stander

When you or the people you care about next need to visit a hospital, you might travel by car or ambulance. Arriving in a wheelbarrow is something none of us would consider a possibility – but then we’ve never been in the same position as Rosie.

Suffering alone 

Rosie is a widow in her 60s, living alone in a small township in Boitekong in the North-West Province of South Africa. Sadly, in a nation that has been ravaged by AIDS, that story is not uncommon. Neither is the fact that when she suffered with pains and illness, like a chronic pain in her left arm, medical attention was simply not an option. But when Rosie suffered a gruesome leg wound, things became entirely more serious.

With no nearby healthcare available in the immediate area, and unable to afford a taxi to attend hospital, Rosie was left to suffer in isolation. She spent two whole weeks laying in her small, empty shack, with her neighbours equally powerless to help her. So when Rotarians and volunteers arrived in her community to stage an annual RFHA Family Health Day event, it was little short of a miracle; a one-off opportunity to get the help she needed.

Help at last

Of course, even walking the short distance to the staging center was impossible given the severity of her injury – which is why event organisers were shocked to see this elderly, hurt woman arrive in a wheelbarrow. 

It was pushed by her neighbor, Joseph; desperate to help, and without access to transportation, it was the absolute best he could do. That same spirit was shown by the medical staff of the Rotary Family Health Day who, despite not being equipped to act as an Emergency Room, were able to clean and disinfect the wound, provide Rosie with long-overdue pain relief, and organize for her transfer to a local hospital, where doctors worked to ensure she would make a full recovery.

So happy to see you again

So when Rotarians and volunteers returned the following year, there were few sights more welcome than Rosie – walking to the site so that she could personally thank the special men and women who changed her life. Her gratitude was the perfect reminder of why we give so much of ourselves in carrying out the RFHA mission – and underlined the importance of making healthcare accessible to all.

This is just the beginning

As we celebrate Rosie’s recovery, while reflecting on her arduous journey to receive the care she so desperately needed, it’s also a chance to consider the RFHA’s path to this point. We’ve been successful in delivering over 11 million health care interventions to more than 2.6 million people – but we know that’s just the beginning. 

We know there are people like Rosie in towns and villages we’ve not yet had the opportunity to serve, which is why we’re working to expand our Rotary Family Health Day program; nobody should live without access to healthcare, and it’s our goal to ensure nobody does. 

And we also know there are people like Joseph, all over the world, who are looking for ways to help those in need, in any way they can. 

Your donation can make an immediate impact in the lives of others – so that whether they travel by ambulance or by wheelbarrow, there’s a better and brighter path ahead.


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