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Meet the woman who has saved thousands of babies using string, tape, and her fancy medical degree.

Here's why babies at one broken-down hospital in Ethiopia live longer than many babies in the world.

Dr. Mulualem Gessesse is one of seven doctors in all of Ethiopia who specialize in treating premature babies.

And thanks to her, Ethiopia's been making huge strides in providing sustainable health care to its citizens.

YouTube vlogger and "The Fault in Our Stars" author John Green recently visited Ethiopia to see the people who are making it possible in action.


One doctor, Dr. Gessesse, stood out among the rest.

Dr. Gessesse. Image by John Green.

And she really has her work cut out for her.

Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world. Most people there don't have running water or electricity.

Needless to say, many of the fancy, high-tech medical machines we see in other parts of the world are not available.

Which means Dr. Gessesse is basically a modern-day version of MacGyver, only instead of using paperclips and gum to escape from the roof of a building before a bomb goes off, she's using her medical know-how and DIY skills every day to save babies' lives.

Image by John Green

But the lack of resources hasn't stopped Dr. Gessesse from dedicating her life to saving the lives of thousands of Ethiopian babies.

When premature babies are born, many of them need help breathing. To help them, doctors in industrialized countries often use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines. These machines keep the baby's lungs from collapsing by delivering much-needed air through their mouths or noses.

But Dr. Gessesse doesn't have access to these machines. Once, when she asked for them, an organization delivered 12, which seemed great — but they were all adult-sized, making them useless.

So she created her own.

She made makeshift C-PAP machines for her infant patients using of oxygen tanks, tubing, and water.

Image by John Green

Dr. Gessesse's brilliant idea has allowed her to go from helping just a few hundred babies a year to thousands.

Thanks to doctors like her, the infant mortality rate in Ethiopia has plummeted at an unprecedented rate.

Ethiopia's child mortality rate is the fastest-falling in the world. The percentage of children dying before turning 5 has been cut in half.

Chart by U.N. Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation.

Dr. Gessesse's success is possible in part because organizations like the Gates Foundation and Save the Children are meeting Ethiopians where they are.

Instead of coming in as outsiders and trying to tell the Ethiopian people what is best for them, these organizations are helping to create and implement a health improvement strategy catered specifically to the community's needs.

By working with the community and not against it, health care providers like Dr. Gessesse are empowered to use what is available to them to create innovative ways to save lives.

The reason why Dr. Gessesse does this work serves as a reminder that we're all connected.

When John Green asked why she chooses to dedicate her life's work to helping these fragile lives with so few resources, her answer was simple.

She chose this specialty because she strongly believes that we all have to look out for each other.

GIF via John Green.

She says: "I have many children. Only two biological, but many children."

Hats off to you, Dr. Gessesse.

GIF from "War Horse."

Learn more about the work in Ethiopia to save babies here:

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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