Help Send The Ritters to Rwanda!!


We are Dustin and Sarah Ritter, graduate students in Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University. As some of you guys already know, we have been given the AMAZING opportunity to spend two months this summer (June and July 2013) in Rwanda, Africa, as a part of the Summer Institute program jointly hosted by Engineering World Health (EWH) and the Biomedical Engineering Department at Texas A&M University.

After learning about the disparity in the quality of health care between developed and developing countries (for more info, check out this TED talk by Hans Rosling and this one by Rebecca Richards-Kortum), we've experienced an ever-strengthening desire to play a role in improving global health. With this new-found passion, we co-founded our local student chapter of EWH and have held leadership positions since its inception. We initiated a program in which graduate students mentor senior design teams, and we personally mentored a total of 6 design teams during the past 3 years; all of these teams worked on designs specifically aimed to address global health needs of developing world hospitals. Furthermore, both of us are interested in continuing down this path in our careers.

During the first month of the program, we will focus on learning the local languages (French and Kinyarwanda), as well as learning how to repair common medical device failures. During the second month, we will travel to a secondary clinic to repair medical equipment. While there, we will also work to identify various medical equipment needs that could be met through simple, low-cost engineering solutions. As a part of the cultural aspect, we will be living with a local host family each month, which will help to improve our understanding of the language and local customs.

We are so excited about this opportunity to make an impact this summer and also to learn how we can hopefully have an even greater impact through our careers. We were never able to participate in a study abroad program as undergraduates (in fact, Dustin has never left the country!), so we are even more thankful to gain this valuable global exposure as graduate students. However, as you might imagine, this will be a very costly venture for us. So how can you contribute toward our efforts in Rwanda this summer?? Well, we're glad you asked! We have outlined our expenses below to let you know how the money that we raise will be allocated.


Cost Breakdown (most cover both Sarah and Dustin)

●  Program fees (includes language and technical training, homestays, some meals, textbooks, tools, supplies, travel insurance, coordination and administrative fees, faculty expenses, and miscellaneous fees) = $11,000

●  Round-trip airfare = $3966.40 (updated 3/29)

●  Passport = $135 (Dustin only)

●  Typhoid and Yellow Fever Vaccinations = $436

●  Anti-malarials = $30 (updated 4/10)

●  Some meals = $500


Total cost = $16,067.40 (updated 4/10)


What we've covered so far by other means


●  Dustin's round-trip airfare = $1,983.20 (updated 3/29)

●  Sarah's round-trip airfare = $1,983.20 (updated 4/17)

●  Financial aid = $4,000 (updated 4/10)


Total covered = $7,966.40 (updated 4/17)

TOTAL REMAINING COST =  $8,101 (updated 4/17)


For this reason, we have listed $8,000 as our (updated) goal amount. We know that this is a large amount of money, and we'll be striving to raise this money using other means outside of our GoFundMe page; as such, we'll update our goal amount (that is, we'll lower it) as we receive any offline donations. We still plan to participate in the program this summer, even if we cannot raise the entire goal amount; any remainder will be paid from our personal savings and/or selling our personal belongings! :)


We appreciate your consideration and any help that you can provide. We will be updating our page as often as possible to let you know of our progress.

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Sarah Jeffords Ritter 
College Station, TX
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