Medical student volunteers to work in Mozambique orphanage

Published 29 March 2010

elizaA medical student at the University of New England is travelling to Mozambique for three weeks in July to do volunteer work in an orphanage.

Eliza Wziontek (pictured here), who is in her second year in UNE’s School of Rural Medicine, will be travelling with a group of parishioners from her Sydney-based church, and will be staying at Zimpeto orphanage in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique.

She will be primarily assisting the staff of nurses and spending “one-on-one time” with the children.

“I want to really understand the differences between the two cultures,” Eliza said. “Having grown up in a privileged family and environment, I want to gain an understanding of what it must be like for the estimated 1.6 million orphans in Mozambique today. I just didn’t think that sending money was enough.”

She said she also felt that going now as a student would be beneficial to her, as she would like to work in a Third-World country after graduating.

The opportunity arose when one of the members of her church had a family member who worked at the orphanage and made arrangements for the group to visit. The orphanage houses approximately 300 children, all of whom need medical care. Eliza said she was most excited about spending time with the babies, as it was important for them to get the chance to play games and have “one-on-one time”.

As well as administering vaccinations to the children at the orphanage, Eliza will be travelling to a garbage dump where many children live and providing them with medical care and provisions.

A fund-raising dinner was held on the 6th of March, and from this the group now has $40,000 to help the orphanage. Eliza has paid her own airfares and will be staying in the orphanage, where she will eat and live with the children so as to immerse herself in the culture.