Wednesday, June 01, 2005

PROJECT CONTACT: Looking For Heroes

Kermit Washington is a former professional basketball player from the U.S. He played the last five years of his professional athletic career with the Portland Trailblazers in Oregon.

In 1995 Kermit took a trip to Rwanda, Africa with Northwest Medical Teams, an organization that also brings medical relief to different nations of Africa. While in Rwanda, he observed such a high rate of human suffering that he was inspired to make a commitment to get involved personally.

At the time, Kermit already had an existing charity, The Sixth Man Foundation, a local charity in Oregon that helps out the citizens of Portland. But he decided to do something more global. And because of this, he founded Project Contact.

Project Contact began as an organization for the exchange of people and expertise between East Africa and the United States. The initial focus of the organization was to conduct activities that provided teacher training. While carrying out this mission, it became apparent to the members of Project Contact that there was a great need for medical care for the children. That's when the organization began bringing medical relief teams into the schools located in the slums.

Since then beginning of Project Contact Kermit has made 24 trips to Nairobi, Kenya bringing volunteer doctors and nurses with him each trip. The medical professionals have been bringing medical relief to areas where previously there has been no medical care. These areas do not even have running water or electricity.

Feeling disappointed in the U.S. government for not being more involved in humanitarian efforts, Kermit says that "all I can do is help all of those we can reach with project contact. I would like people to remember this as Isaac Newton said it, 'For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction.' When you deal in nothing but violence, that is all you get in return. If you deal in love and compassion, that is what you will receive. "

In addition to the doctors, nurses that come with the Project Contact teams there are volunteers consisting of, homemakers and everyday citizens who take out two weeks of their lives to make the world a better place.

Included in what Kermit calls "Dream Team" are:

Medical Doctors (including a Transplant Surgeon), a Pharmaceutical Representative, Corporate Executives, Coaches, Sport Agents, Academicians and Professional Athletes, among others.

With the help of his Dream Team, the focus of Project Contact is:

- To promote access to and the delivery of quality medical care to underserved populations living in slum areas.

- To promote grassroots community-based projects that create sustainable long term relationships and projects that improve the basic quality of life for people living in the slums, especially in regards to water, sanitation and basic health services.

- To promote relationships between US and Kenyan medical personnel to improve access to quality healthcare for people living in the slums.

- To provide medical supplies, medicines and medical expertise to organizations in Kenya working with people living in the slums.

- To provide a structured educational learning opportunity for students and volunteers from around the world to participate in the alleviation of poverty and suffering in slum communities.

- To promote research directed toward improving the health care and living conditions of underserved slum dwellers.

Kermit say at his web site:

"We are looking for heroes. If you have ever wanted to be a Robin Hood or a Zorro, we can give you the chance to be just that. There are thousands of people that need your help and need it badly. By joining Project Contact Africa and volunteering your time to work in our clinic or orphanage you can make a world of difference to those in need. If you are interested or would simply like more information, surf our site or give us a call.

Superheroes needed, apply here."

If you think that you are a superhero, or just a hero, drop by Project Contact's web site and see if there is anything that you can do. You can find them at:

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