This week, ASYV partnered with Rwanda’s National Center for Blood Transfusion Division (NCBT) to run the Village’s biannual blood drive. Hassina Umutesi, the Health and Wellness Coordinator at the Segal Family Foundation’s Health and Wellness Center at Agahozo-Shalom, helped to facilitate the program. 

She explained, “Though science is advancing, there is still no way to manufacture blood. The only way people who need blood can receive it is from donations. The Village has experienced the need for safe blood in the past and thus we recognize the importance of restocking the blood supply. Since January 2014, there have been two students and one staff member from Agahozo-Shalom who were treated with blood transfusions. 

As a benefit for ASYV students who donate, they receive a routine physical check-up, which includes testing for numerous blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. We want our students to be in the habit of having their blood checked as well as donating blood more regularly. We want this to be a standard routine in their lives, just like going to the dentist. Donating blood is a way of giving to the Rwandan community and provides insurance to accessing safe blood if you should need it. Donating blood furthers the philosophy of Tikkun Olam that we practice in ASYV because it is an active way of helping others who are in need. We hope all of our students and staff who are eligible will donate blood this week.” 

After a successful donation, participants enjoyed a myriad of snacking options from freshly baked sambusas to cold sodas and milk. A very exciting buffet of choices ensured a plentiful turnout from students and staff!     

Submitted by Sasha Friedman, 2014 Village Fellow