Since finishing the 10th grade in April, seventeen year-old Sandeep has spent the past month and a half of his summer volunteering full-time at the Meher Free Dispensary. He arrives every morning with a cheerful attitude and has been a key component in the day-to-day operations of the dispensary–doing whatever the staff needs in order to help keep things running smoothly.
Not only is Sandeep the only Indian volunteer at MFD, he has also been a patient at the MFD all his life. “The MFD has helped me so much in my life that I want to give something back…Volunteering here is a way I can do that.”
Sandeep was born with Thalassemia major, an inherited blood disorder which requires monthly blood transfusions and regular medical attention. Although the dispensary has been his primary source of medical care since birth, some of the treatments he needs are beyond the capacities of the dispensary. Therefore, the MFD provides financial assistance to his family are critical in covering the cost of treatments that Sandeep receives at the hospital or elsewhere.
While his disease requires him to pay much greater attention to his health than your average teenager, Sandeep said that it doesn’t really interfere with his daily life. His energy and enthusiasm that he shows while working are a testament to that. Sandeep said that, although he starts 11th grade in a couple months, he still wants to continue volunteering at the dispensary as much as possible. When asked about his post-high school plans, Sandeep replied, “I hope to become full-time staff working here at the MFD.” He’s certainly on the right track.
Here is Sandeep standing outside the entrance to the Meher Free Dispensary.