The Old Delhi Clinic

Esther Rubin, AES Student

For many years a street clinic run by volunteers has been giving free medical services to those who couldn’t get those services anywhere else. The AES community and specifically, the scrubs club, have had a close relationship with this clinic due to its eye-opening service opportunity and the hands-on experience with medical treatment.

Due to COVID and lockdown, many people have lost their jobs, and the street clinic medical volunteers are not allowed to touch patients because of the high risk. Now the volunteer doctor gives the medication or the wrapping they need for would care, and the patients administer it themselves. The most significant change, however, has been a place for free breakfast. The volunteers are serving chapati, daal, and rice now to hundreds of people. While we only go once a week to one location, the volunteers go every morning to 19 different places.

Since the end of last semester, Max Rubin and Kyle Vanelli have raised money to buy basics such as soap, toothbrushes, etc. and distribute them during breakfast. Now that they are in college, Marshall Kagan and I have been volunteering for one morning a weekend in Old Delhi while continuing to fundraise.

So far, we have donated 9000 bars of regular body soap, 9500 bars of detergent soap, 3000 toothbrushes, 3000 tubes of toothpaste, around 2000 masks, 1000 pairs of slippers, and many kilos of wheat to make the chapatis. We have in total raised almost $7500; we are so grateful to everyone who has donated. Since we have been bringing other supplies, they feel so grateful to us, and Ii believe we are making an impact.

When Max and Kyle first started volunteering, I stayed home, only looking at photos. But photos do not always do justice to the real thing. when I first saw the hundreds of people sitting and waiting in rows I was quite astonished. The experience is short, maybe half an hour to an hour, and in that time, we feed and distribute to more than 700 people.

I am so grateful that I have had this opportunity to help this community. Because of COVID, it's hard to do anything so support others in the community right now. It certainly is an exposure that I will never forget. For us, life flipped upside down because of COVID.  But for the hundreds or migrants and homeless people struggling to eat, life flipped, twisted, and turned in every direction, so when I hand them that toothbrush, I hope that their world becomes just a bit happier.

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