Having always wanted to give back to those less fortunate, Jenny and Rowan Berger, members of Victoria Park and Districts Star St Uniting Church, are about to spend 12 months abroad, putting their skills to good work in Vanuatu. This young couple left Perth in late June to give their time and skills to work with Vanuatu’s local people in the medical industry – Jenny is a registered nurse, and Rowan is a paramedic.
Working through Medical Santo, a Churches of Christ organisation partnering with the Vanuatu Ministry of Health to build the local capacity for healthcare in Vanuatu, they’ll also be working on their own project – the Medical Equality and Development (MED) project. After travelling to Vanuatu late last year to volunteer short-term, the couple realised they had so much more they could offer to help the people of Vanuatu to build up their health system.
The couple, who have been married for two years, have always had a plan to give back.
“We met at a young age and our aim was always, that once we were fully qualified, to go and help people less fortunate than ourselves overseas,” said Jenny.
Jenny explained that the hospital in Vanuatu covers a huge regional area, which is equipped with one 4wd used for emergency purposes. As a paramedic, Rowan’s main area of work in Vanuatu will be to build-up the local capacity for emergency services especially in response to disasters, as the area is prone to cyclones. Jenny will be involved in preventing medical emergencies and illness, particularly in rural areas. She’ll also be involved in testing for a new cervical cancer detection technique, which has been designed for developing countries. The new technique is much more affordable and accessible for women in these areas than the traditional method of pap smears.
“The main thing with Rowan and my project is that we’re supporting the local staff there and trying to help them adapt to the limited resources they have,” Jenny said. “With our project, our aim is not to take over, but to support the overworked local staff to help make a lasting difference.”
Victoria Park and Districts Star St Uniting Church held a quiz night on Saturday 23 May inviting congregations to compete against each other, to fundraise for the MED Project. Billabong Uniting Church took out the title.
To donate to Jenny and Rowan’s MED project, deposit funds to: BSB: Westpac 034 243 Account number 121873, Reference: MED Project.