The first person survival story of John Dau one of the Sudanese Lost Boys.
What is Clinics Rising?
Our mission is simple: Advocate for global health care through storytelling.
What is a human life worth? What do you do when you can’t call Sears or Home Depot? When it takes months, instead of days, for a delivery? Where there is no water? Where there is no power? When local government officials are threatening to shut you down?
Clinics Rising was created to showcase the amazing challenges and triumphs of heroic healthcare workers around the globe. It was formed with the mission of telling the stories of non-government organizations (NGOs) doing the work on the ground, to improve and save lives, and heal the world.
We tell the stories of the incredible, and often small, organizations that provide health care to some of the most destitute regions in the world. Clinics Rising creates the media used by these organizations to help them with their advocacy, recruitment and fundraising goals.
Clinics Rising uses a combination of rich media, traditional media, broadcast/film, audio and photojournalism to tell these compelling and often untold stories in the fight for world wide health care.
We also feature stories of technologies that fuel innovative ways to solve some of the most fundamental issues facing clinics across the globe: water, power, sanitation, medicine, staffing, communication, and education in global health.
The need for telling stories of social injustice… stories of the under-privileged, impoverished, and forgotten… has never been more paramount. With unprecedented amounts of philanthropic energy now part of popular culture, each and every one of us can help, even if just by paying attention to these circumstances, raising global awareness.
We are looking for talent interested in producing long- and short- form human-interest stories about medical clinics around the world, and the challenges faced with designing, building and sustaining them. From clean water to sanitary bathrooms and power shortages, we are looking to tell empathic, yet powerful and empowering, stories.
We need help telling these stories, if you would like to help please contact me here.
Founder Clinics Rising
What is Clinics Rising?
Clinics Rising was formed as an advocacy and media organization that tells stories of amazing people doing amazing things in global health care. There are so many stories to be told about the work being done worldwide, yet as often is the case, funds and energy need to go toward the work, itself, and not to the process of telling these stories. Clinics Rising is a venue and organization that exposes this amazing work, and grants the talent necessary to produce the stories. Our goal is that ClinicsRising.com becomes a destination for people to discover organizations, and ultimately get involved with the one they feel could best be served by their individual skills.
Where do you find your stories?
We find our stories by word of mouth, speaking engagements, meeting people in the field and submissions. Often when we travel, we hear about very interesting work that is relatively unknown. You can submit a story here.
How can I help?
You can help by volunteering talent and/or, through donations. We try to pair up people and organizations where the skills and needs would create a natural attraction. You can learn more here.
Do I have to travel to volunteer?
You don't have to travel, yet many people find working on the ground with other people and cultures to be the most rewarding. We feature stories from all over the world, so it helps if you really know a certain location and/or can advise on logistics and lodging. If you don't, that's OK, too -- we can always use help with sorting images, making phone calls, generating press and sharing this work. While our offices are in NYC, you can help remotely, as well. Find out more here.
Is Clinics Rising a non-profit?
Clinics Rising is non-profit, but we are not a 501c3 as of yet. We are exploring the best options that will allow us to sustain this work indefinitely. This takes a tremendous amount of resources both human and fiscal. We realize we need to generate funding and are looking into some unique ways to do this. All donations we receive go directly towards the production of more stories. All technical, written, photographic/videographic and production efforts are voluntary. The creators of this site and its contents do so without pay. All contents are property of Clinics Rising, and may not be used or reproduced in any way, without written permission of its creators.
What is your background, and how did the idea for Clinics Rising come about?
I am a creative director, communications consultant and inventor. I have designed and developed everything from TV programming, web sites, museum exhibits and simulators, to entire communications strategies. In the end, I love to solve extremely challenging problems.
I started ClinicsRising.com out of the need to tell the stories often left untold, about amazing work in health care, worldwide. After Katrina hit New Orleans in the United States, I tried, unsuccessfully, to assemble a volunteer crew to visit New Orleans, find stories and expose some of the incredible work being done by emergency care workers and mobile clinics in the weeks immediately following the storm. I could find plenty of people who wanted to do this as a job, but not as volunteers.
During this time, working as a creative consultant on new web design strategy for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, I observed the increasing amount of challenges they were facing, as how to best tell the world what they are doing as an organization (and why). Theirs is the world’s largest foundation, and yet, they have the exact same issues as the smaller NGOs. I found this intriguing because it could readily be addressed with very thoughtful and sensitive storytelling.
Sean Clauson, having worked for me as a producer on commercial projects (and who now has been in Rwanda for over a year and a half), told me about a project his sister, Laura Clauson, was working on in Bisate. Sean decided to go to Rwanda and document his sister’s journey through this project. This became our first story, the story of Bisate Clinic, about the challenges and triumphs organizations face, when working in remote parts of the globe, as well as next door. CCHIPS was created as a pilot project of Wyman Worldwide Health Partners, run by Ro and Bill Wyman, a committed and compassionate couple from New Hampshire. On Jan. 20, of this year, they brought us with them to Bisate to see, firsthand, the amazing work that has been done so far.
What were your intentions in founding it? What were your ultimate hopes and goals?
My intentions were to bring a high level of quality and talent in media and storytelling to smaller organizations, who really need to spend their resources on "doing the work". I have found that media and fundraising materials are usually an after-thought, addressed quickly, by putting together something that truly does not flatter or tell the authentic stories of the end goals of these organizations.
My ultimate goal is to create a fully sustainable, socially responsible media company that can grant organizations the gift of well-crafted storytelling, that is both convincing and compelling. Working with our producers, writers, filmmakers, designers and photographers, we can facilitate the telling of their stories in the way they need to be told. Simultaneously, we are creating a destination, ClinicsRising.com, where people will gravitate to find these compelling stories and hear about these organizations for the first time. We believe in making philanthropy a successful business, in fully creating the type of reach and growth we know to be possible.
I believe social entrepreneurship is the path to truly changing the world, while creating responsibility and accountability, in ways that non-profits have not always found success.
When was it founded and how has it grown since?
Clinics Rising was founded in June 2006, and we launched ClinicsRising.com in December 2007. Currently, we have over 250 hours of footage that we’re editing into vignettes and short stories. In the first few months after our launch, we received 6,000 visitors and delivered over 55 hours of programming.
What has been your biggest challenge and your greatest reward?
The biggest challenge has been funding. Creating and producing superior content, at the scale we are working, is tremendously costly, and to date, the funding has been entirely out of our own pockets. This is why I want to create a social business that can become fully self-sustainable, without having to fundraise or ask for donations, ourselves.
The greatest reward was seeing, with my own eyes, Bisate Health Center and the amazing transformation it underwent, from a dark and dirty place, where people would once come to die, to the beautiful and thriving community center we now see. Having the ability and resources to share this transformation has been, by far, the most rewarding part. Learning about others who have benefited from the project, as well, has been very heartwarming, too. There have been life-changing effects as a result, with the realization of long-held, personal dreams. Elie Sebigoli, the project translator and program director, is in the process of building a new home for his family because of his employment through the project. Alice Nyiransengimana. the CCHIPS housekeeper, raising her two young children after her husband left them, has been able to start her own restaurant and catering company. These are only two of many stories, each inspiring in its own special way.
There are so many stories to tell with each project, that it becomes wonderfully overwhelming, such as the photography and video pen-pal exchange between students at the Bisate School and a class of Bronx, NY high school students who are studying Rwanda. Now, the Bronx students can actually talk with the Bisate students, with a two-way sharing of questions and experiences. Their exchange, via videos, photos and essays, helps to bridge the gap between two very different cultures, At the same time, the young people, separated on two continents, are ultimately discovering surprising similarities, leading to greater tolerance and compassion. This is about so much more than a single health clinic and the treatment of disease. From out of the darkness, it is a path to peace and personal empowerment.
Where do you see the organization in five or ten years?
In five years, I would like ClinicsRising.com to be THE destination for compelling content and information on global health. We would have a network of producers, filmmakers, writers and photographers, who can traverse the globe, finding these amazing stories, and producing not only media for the web, but also TV programming and feature documentaries.
My vision is to develop ClinicsRising.com as a repository for information on technologies and techniques for building in different climates, engineering resources, and water, sanitation and power systems that can be shared freely with other organizations or individuals. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, yet we see it happen on every project, as the information from one project is not shared with others. This sharing expands manpower and resources exponentially. Open source philanthropy, if you will -- the idea that everyone can help, and you don't always need a lot of money to do so. A synergy of sorts, with far greater results than the sum of the individual components.