United World Project


A scientific marathon for India

12 May 2021   |   , ,

On May 15, a scientific solidarity marathon will be held to help the Shanti Ashram in Coimbatore, India, a Gandhian center that, among many things, takes care of the health of children living in extreme poverty and hardship, now is in economic difficulty due to Covid-19. The marathon will involve world renowned medical and gynecological professionals. The fundraiser is aimed primarily at companies wishing to sponsor this scientific event. Everyone is invited to participate to help raise awareness and spread a culture of “taking care”.

Antonia Testa is an Italian gynecologist, Associate Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics, at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart. Kezevino Aram, known as Vinu, is a pediatrician, and the president of Shanti Ashram, a Gandhian center for development, learning and collaboration founded in Coimbatore in the 1980s and which, for over 30 years, has been working with communities and individuals to help them out of poverty, overcome inequality, form creative leaders, and ensure sustainable development.

Two years ago, during a work trip, Antonia was able to get to know and appreciate Vinu’s work closely, whose projects reach around 50,000 children and their families: “During the trip, I was hosted in her home with two other young colleagues, and I was able to see the social projects carried out by the center. Both the health care as well as the educational and employment assistance. In particular, we visited schools in villages that they have built, and the newly opened pediatric clinic. A clinic that acts as a bridge between the city’s major hospitals and the local area. Then, the food bank. I attended meetings with HIV-affected mothers and grandmothers, and so on…”.

Fast forward to today, or almost. Last Christmas, Dr. Aram sends Dr. Testa an email, in which she explains some of their projects. The latter, reading the email, perceives between the lines that something is wrong. And to not let it go, she immediately picks up the phone and calls her. “So I found out that, after 8 months of lockdown, the center has run out of resources and Vinu doesn’t know how to continue to sustain all the projects already started. So, I asked her: but how much money do you think is needed? She answered: 60,000 euros. I ended the call thinking that we must find a way to help her”.

Antonia talks about it to her acquaintances and gathers small donations. Then, while discussing it with her colleague Luca Savelli, the idea was born: as singers get together to organize a solidarity concert, why don’t we do something similar among gynecologists? “We thought, why not pool our expertise, and attempt a sort of virtual marathon of our scientific connections and, with the money we can raise, donate it to Vinu Aram?”, says Dr. Testa. Within 24 hours, colleagues from South America to North America, from Australia to Europe responded positively to the call, confirming their full adhesion to the project.

So, the marathon, purely scientific, will consist of 20 gynecological experts and pediatricians from around the world, which will pass the baton by showcasing their most innovative research on the topics entrusted.

At this point the question arises: how will you raise the funds?

“Being a scientific project – explains Antonia Testa – we were able to bring it to the attention of companies in the sector and it is from them that we hope to receive contributions. But individuals can also participate thanks to the crowdfunding we have set up on the GoFundMe platform. Truly, as Mahatma Gandhi once said:

What we do today determines our tomorrow”.

For those who wish to know about the forms of visibility, and to have further information, please contact the Events and Congresses Office of the Catholic University of Sacred Heart of Rome at the following contact details:

Tel: +39 06.30154297 e-mail: mailto:eventi.roma@unicatt.it

Click here to follow the marathon.