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DPT Students to Help in Bangladesh

Date: March 11, 2014
Phone: 269-471-3348

by Eloise Ravell

The Andrews University Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is planning a two-week mission trip to Dhaka, Bangladesh, Aug. 4-21, 2014. Ten students from the DPT program have already committed to going and are in the process of fundraising for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Students will be volunteering at the Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP), which services patients with spinal cord injuries and orthopedic, neurological and pediatric disorders across Bangladesh. Founded in 1979, CRP is committed to serving patients through physical, psychological and economic rehabilitation and assisting their adjustment to their lives back at home.

Students will also visit the Mother Teresa Orphanage located in Old Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh. Donations will be brought directly to the orphanage that serves lunch and dinner to more than 500 people daily, along with the 200 children who live there.

“I hope students will embrace the teachings of Jesus, to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and to ‘love your neighbor as yourself,’” says Lori Walton, research coordinator of the Department of Physical Therapy and coordinator of the trip, quoting Luke 10:27. “I want them to see their ‘neighbors’ in a different light.”

As this is not the first mission trip the department has done, Walton seeks to improve this year’s experience by providing the accompanying students with basic language skills to help break down the language barrier. With a decent grip on the basics, students will be able to communicate more effectively with the locals with whom they will be working. 

Students plan to utilize the skills they have learned through Andrews courses and clinicals. The specific areas of volunteering students can chose from include pediatric, neuro and orthopedic settings and the majority of the students’ work will be concentrated within their chosen setting.

Bangladesh currently has highly qualified workers at these centers, but the amount of educated staff does not parallel what is here in the United States. They are therefore searching for new techniques and insights that the DPT students have learned throughout their coursework at Andrews, new research that has either proved or disproved certain treatments, and general input that might differ from what they are currently practicing.

“I know the impact this trip will have on me will greatly outweigh any impact I could make over there,” says participating physical therapy student Alisa Denny. “I am more than excited to put some of my skills and knowledge to use in a setting of greater need, but in reality, the cultural and spiritual effects that will come with this journey are what amaze me most. I am just giddy to learn about their healthcare views, their culture and how different areas of the world work with what they have versus how we do it here in America. I am so excited to open my eyes to a whole new world!”

Fundraising thus far has consisted of an afternoon massage clinic open to Andrews students and letters asking for donations sent to family and friends, but more fundraising planning is in the works this semester. To help support this mission trip, please email

Image Caption: Lori Walton, research coordinator for the Department of Physical Therapy and coordinator of the trip, talks with the CEO of the organization where she and the students will be working in Bangladesh.

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