The hospitals that The Little Things works with are under-resourced; thus, they do not have the capacity to effectively and suitable manage the patients that are admitted every single day.
The Little Things is a student-led charity aiming to improve healthcare in developing countries. By providing vital medical equipment to poorly funded and inadequately equipped hospitals, we hope to improve access to healthcare for innocent, vulnerable patients.
PRESS & PUBLICATIONS
We focus on the little things that can be done in hospitals, to vastly improve healthcare for patients and subsequently their quality of life.
How was The Little Things founded?
How do we raise funds?
How do we determine which healthcare
projects to fund?
The Little Things was founded in 2013 by Rathaven Gunaratnarajah, who was 20 years old at the time, and was studying as a third year biomedical science student at the University of Kent. He is currently a final year medical student at the University of Manchester.
In August 2013, our founder returned from a two-week trip to St Elizabeth Hospital, Tanzania and was dismayed by the stark reality of inadequate healthcare in a developing country. On his return to the UK, it was decided that the first project would be to equip a desperately needed eye clinic for St Elizabeth Hospital, at an estimated cost of £25,000. The Little Things team worked tirelessly to bring this vision to life. On the 22nd May 2015, we were registered with The Charity Commission and the charity began its journey to improve healthcare in developing countries.
Our passion for improving healthcare in developing countries inspired countless students to sympathise with the cause and contribute their time and effort voluntarily. The charity has established a presence at a number of universities across the UK and all our student volunteers have always been the unsung heroes of the charity. They play a significant role in the fundraising process which is achieved by organising exhilarating, adventurous fundraising events such as skydiving and mountain trekking.
In addition to student fundraising, the charity also relies on grants and support from schools as well as support from the local community.
Since the charity's inception, The Little Things has successfully managed to complete four healthcare projects:
• In July 2015, the first project was completed - funding an eye clinic in Arusha, Tanzania. Surgical and diagnostic equipment necessary for the successful running of an eye clinic were installed in St. Elizabeth Hospital.
• Following the completion of the first project, The Little Things worked swiftly to ensure that in July 2016, they managed to complete their second project - equipping a premature baby clinic in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka.
• In July 2017, the charity completed their third healthcare project by providing vital medical equipment for two hospitals within the Northern Province of Sri Lanka - Base Hospital Point Pedro and Base Hospital Tellippalai. These projects have had a huge impact on the local population and enable access to unprecedented levels of healthcare.
• The charity recently completed its fourth healthcare project in the summer of 2018. Funds were raised to support Tamakoshi Co-operative Hospital, Manthali. This hospital only offers basic medical services but was in need of medical equipment to provide specialist cardiology and gastroenterology services to the community. The Little Things has enabled this by raising £50,000 and purchasing an upper GI endoscope and echocardiogram, along with other medical equipment.
• Our current project is focusing on improving healthcare in Gulu, Uganda – specifically at the Gulu Regional Referral Hospital. The hospital only offers basic medical services and is in need of medical resources to provide specialist paediatric services to the community. This money raised will address the significant short-comings of paediatric care at GRRH by enabling us to refurbish the children’s ward and provide the hospital with the necessary medical equipment.
We appeal to university students for the majority of the funds that are raised, by organising exhilarating fundraising events such as skydiving, mountain treks, sponsored runs and bucket collections for university students to partake in.
Skydiving has been our main approach to raising funds since the birth of The Little Things. We run the skydiving event as an annual fundraiser, with multiple days dedicated to our fundraisers leaping from planes all across the country.
In addition to this, our mountain treks have been a great success. In August 2016, we hosted our first international fundraising event - a trek of Machu Picchu in Peru. We took a group of student fundraisers to Peru and spent an incredible 5 days climbing through the mountains, bathing in hot springs, zip lining through the Andes and sleeping by campfires. We repeated this trek of Machu Picchu in September 2017.
For each fundraising event, an ‘Information Evening’ is hosted at universities across the UK, where the respective Student Ambassador gives a presentation on The Little Things and explains the details of the fundraising event. Interested students then sign up to the event and are supported by The Little Things throughout their fundraising journey. We provide each student that signs up with a charity t-shirt, collection bucket, collection tin and information pack.
Schools and the Local Community
In the academic year of 2016/17, we attempted to widen our reach by focusing more on appealing for grants and support from schools and also for support from the local community. The secondary school students help with raising awareness of our cause at primary and secondary schools across the UK. These student volunteers arrange fundraising activities at the schools such as non-uniform days, bake sales and bazaars.
In January 2017, we hosted a New Year’s Ball, where approximately 200 guests attended and helped to raise nearly £10,000 towards our healthcare projects. We successfully sourced sponsors to cover the costs of organising the Ball.
Corporate sponsors also contribute to our fundraising. Throughout the academic year of 2016/2017, members of The Little Things were tasked with applying for corporate sponsorship. In May 2017, we received our largest donation to date from a corporate sponsor - £12,000 kindly donated by Mazars LLP. In the future, The Little Things will dedicate more time to appealing for donations from large corporations.
The Little Things focusses specifically on hospitals that are under-funded and poorly equipped, and we liaise with the hospitals to provide vital medical equipment needed by the hospital to cater to the needs of the local population. We provide support by purchasing medical equipment and overseeing the installation of these equipment in the hospital.
Determining where to conduct the project initially depends on researching any affiliation a volunteer from The Little Things may have to a hospital in a developing country. For example, for our first healthcare project in Tanzania, we decided to conduct the project for St. Elizabeth Hospital because that is the hospital that inspired Rathaven to start up The Little Things. For the second and third healthcare projects, we decided to equip hospitals in Sri Lanka as this is our founder’s motherland and family members that work in the hospitals within the Northern Province of Sri Lanka would often describe the need for vital medical equipment. For the fourth healthcare project, which was completed in Summer 2018, Professor Satyan Rajbhandari who is a Consultant Physician in Diabetes & Endocrinology, visited Nepal and assessed three hospitals in and around Kathmandu. Following this assessment, Professor Rajbhandari gave his recommendation on which hospital The Little Things should support in 2018.
Once the location of the project has been decided, The Little Things liaises with the hospital director and members of the healthcare team to construct a list of the most urgently needed medical equipment. The list is written in order of priority, and irrespective of budget. The Little Things then begins to raise funds for the project, with the aim being to raise as much money as possible before June/July. The funds raised are then used to strategically purchase as much of the medical equipment as possible. The relevant medical equipment is purchased from suppliers and installed at the chosen hospital. Members of the team visit the country during this time, to oversee the installation of the equipment and film a brief documentary to showcase the completion of the project.
We aim to complete each chosen project within a one-year time-frame.