Working Without Borders

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Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight, I’m Joshua Leo.

Voice 2

And I’m Marina Santee. This programme uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

The disease was killing hundreds of people. It was spreading through the African country of Burkina Faso. The disease was meningitis. It was infecting thousands of people – it was an epidemic. Healthy people needed injections of a vaccine to stop them getting the disease. Burkino Faso needed more doctors.

Voice 2

Many foreign doctors came to help save lives. They helped to inject about one million people with vaccines in the country’s capital, Ouagadougou. They helped to stop the Burkina Faso epidemic of 2007. The doctors came from MSF.

Voice 1

MSF is an international organisation that sends doctors all over the world. MSF has two main aims. The first is to provide medical help. The second is to tell the world about the people in need. The organisation was started in 1971 by a group of doctors from France. MSF is short for the group’s name in the French language – ‘Medecins Sans Frontieres’. In English this means Doctors Without Borders.

Voice 2

Doctors Without Borders, or MSF, now works in over 60 countries around the world. It employs doctors and other health workers. Some of these are local, some foreign. The local people are paid wages by MSF, but the foreign people work for free. These volunteers leave their jobs in their home country and go to where they are needed. They could be helping to fight disease, like in Burkina Faso. Or they could be providing other emergency help, such as food aid.

Voice 1

When a huge storm hit Myanmar or Burma in May 2008, MSF was there to help. Cyclone Nargis killed thousands of people and left many more without a home. The storm also ruined the land and killed farm animals. As a result, people could not grow enough food. MSF is one group that gave people the food they needed.

Voice 2

Michel Peremans is a Belgian journalist. He also works with Doctors Without Borders. He has been helping a medical team in Burma. His report describes how he has been helping the team to transport food to communities by boat.

Voice 3

‘On the boat we are carrying rice, beans, oil and cans of fish. It is enough to feed 3000 people for a week. We also have hundreds of water containers and some plastic covering material… We travel for more than three hours – then we reach the small city of Myit Pauk. Sixteen hundred [1600] people lived in this town before the cyclone, but 200 were killed. Two thirds of the farm animals drowned and 60% of the boats sank. The houses that are still standing are badly damaged. The people lack the tools they need to rebuild their homes so we give them toolkits… We travel for another half an hour until we reach Daunt Chaung. This town is ruined… A man stops us. “Ten members of my family died,” he tells us. “My wife, my parents and one of my brothers survived, but all of my sisters and their children are dead.” He does not want to tell us any more.’

Voice 1

Cyclone Nargis ruined people’s lives in Burma. That is why the work of Doctors Without Borders is so important. They go to the people with the greatest need and do what they can to help. They are not controlled by any government. The name ‘Doctors Without Borders’ showed that they would not let any national borders stop their work. The name also showed that they would not always follow the wishes of any particular country.

Voice 2

Since MSF began, other groups have been established with a similar idea. As well as Doctors Without Borders, people with other skills have created their own organisations. These ‘Without Borders’ organisations also work around the world to help people in different ways.

Voice 1

‘Reporters Without Borders’ is an organisation that tries to protect the people that report and write the news. It also struggles for the freedom to report the news. This is to prevent governments from controlling what people read, see and hear. The organisation believes that people in every country should be able to know the truth of what is happening in the world.

Voice 2

MBAs Without Borders was created in Canada in 2004. The group uses experienced businessmen and women to help people develop businesses around the world. They work with local people and organisations and teach them how to manage a business. They believe this can help people work their way out of poverty.

Voice 1

There are also a number of Engineers Without Borders organisations around the world. For example, Engineers Without Borders USA was started in the year 2000. It works with communities in developing countries on all sorts of building projects. One such project is in Ecuador. The engineers want to help people living in the village of Bua in west Ecuador. These people need a better water supply. The engineers also want to improve the way the waste is managed. They lived in the community to learn about the people, and how to help them. The engineers hope that their skills will help the community and improve local people’s health.

Voice 2

There are many more ‘without borders’ organisations. But what makes people want to join them? Michael White is a volunteer with Doctors Without Borders or MSF. He has written on the internet about working in Sudan with the organisation. He says he is not sure what made him want to go. But on the first day of his journey to the African country he wrote:

Voice 3

‘Seeing the people that work for MSF has made me want to plan a project of my own… Four years ago I walked into the Doctors Without Borders office. I hoped that one day I would work in a foreign country with MSF. Today is the most satisfying day of my life! The happiest will be the day that our world no longer needs MSF!’

Voice 1

The writer and producer of today’s programme was Steve Myersco. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotations were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. Computer users can find our wordlist, read our scripts and hear more Spotlight programmes on our website, athttp://www.radio.english.net This .programme is called, “Working Without Borders”.

Voice 2

If you have a comment or question about Spotlight you are welcome e-mail us. Our e-mail address is radio@english.net. Thank you for listening today. We hope you can join us again soon, goodbye.

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infect: to make a disease or an illness spread to a person, a animal or a plant

epidemic/epi’demik/: a large number of cases of a particular disease happening at the same time in a particular community 

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