Episode 11 – McGill Medical Student’s Helping Hands Initiative: Extending Arms to Vulnerable Women & Shelters

“Serving Humanity with Medicine”

– Peer med podcast

On this episode, we welcome Helping Hands, a student-led initiative by McGill medical students to speak about their involvement in the community. They have provided more than 500 feminine hygiene kits containing care supplies to various women in Montreal via their multiple partners, including CLSC Parc Extension and the Chronic Viral Illness Service. This episode welcomes Renuka Sivanathan, Nardin Farag and Dean Noutsios who share the work they’ve done, and the impact its had for them.

“With various inequalities in Montreal, Helping Hands, an initiative by McGill medical students extended their arms to vulnerable women and shelters. they have been instrumental in helping raise funds as well as to supply personalized hygiene care kits. These small efforts volunteering saves lives as the pandemic has further exacerbated the impact on the most vulnerable.”

– Peer Med by leah sarah peer

“To provide women with basic health-related necessities in the form of a feminine hygiene kit. We have partnered with the Chronic Viral Illness Clinic and front-line workers of the Native Women’s Shelter Montreal to provide feminine hygiene kits to women from vulnerable populations. The clinic follows over 2000 HIV-positive patients on a long-term basis, who have difficult socio-economic circumstances.”

Helping Hands McGill

Ranuka Sivanathan is a Med-P Representative. She is in the PreMed program and was drawn to Helping Hands by her interest to expand her own knowledge of inequalities faced by vulnerable populations in Montreal. She enjoyed providing the women she interacted with basic necessities which helped alleviate their daily stressors. On the side, she loves Yoga and even has her own classes teaching children Yoga and Meditation during summer camp.

Nardin Farag is a Med-1 Representative for Helping Hands. She was drawn to the club because of the opportunity to help in a very direct manner with a vulnerable population within her city. She believes it was an occasion for her to learn more about health inequities that exist so close to home, and to be able to make a real change in the lives of women living in precarious situations. Fun fact she says, “I have already milked a cow”.

Dean Noutsios is the Vice President for Community Resources. He is a Med-1 who joined Helping Hands because he was interested in providing direct support to vulnerable populations within his local community. He loves that Helping Hands collaborates with healthcare professionals and social workers. Supporting these organizations complimented his medical education in the sense that it allowed him to learn about inequalities existing around us while raising awareness for them. Fun fact about him he says: “I’m Greek but I don’t like olives or feta cheese.”

From left-top to right-bottom: Maria Giannoumis (Med2, VP Events), Minuoja Chandramohan (Med3, Co president), Dean Noutsios (Med1, VP Community Resources), Tarsan Sangarapillai (Med3, Co-president), Ranuka Sivanathan (PreMed, MedP Representative), Nardin Fa (Med1, Med1 Representative), Noemie Sauve (Med1, VP External) and Dillon Lee (Med1, VP Finances). Not pictured: Faizan Mansoury (Med3, VP Internal), Vithushaa Panchadcharam (Med3, VP Marketing)

Episode 11 – Helping Hands Initiative: Extending Arms to Vulnerable Women

“Thank you Renuka, Nardin and Dean for representing your initiative Helping Hands McGill and for speaking with Peer Med. It is always enlightening to see young people giving back to society and instills hope for a better tomorrow. Women and young girls are a vulnerable group of people and empowering them with the resources they need to feel and stay safe is powerful”

– Peer Med Podcast

The Helping Hands team of McGill University medical students continue to be hard at work, looking for ways to help establish collective health and wellness within Montreal in these trying times! To contact them: helpinghandsmcgill@gmail.com with any requests, questions or feedback.

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