There is a world within our world that moves without fussing and shouting. It labors within our daily lives with a steady pace that is unlikely to slow down.
That world is not dominated by the pessimism that leads us to live thoughtlessly and to forget of our roots and history. That world does not relegate hope to an illusion. It fosters justice and fairness, not erodes them.
In that world there are people who are anchored to timeless core-values, and act upon them. People with a deep, strong sense of life. With unwavering faith, they build from scratch with amazing results.
This world is a reality for Translators4Children (T4C), which emerged as a humanitarian pediatric project one year ago. Founded by Dr. Marco Squicciarini with the help of a handful of volunteers, T4C is a website where professional translators and doctors translate medical records for free for families with children affected by serious illnesses.
"When I was working as a volunteer doctor for international humanitarian projects promoted by the Italian Red Cross, I saw children die because their families could not afford to hire a specialized physician, nor had they the means to translate the medical records and get the treatment abroad. "I have never been able to accept that," says Marco Squicciarini, M.D. who specializes in Odontostomatology and has a long history of assignments as university teacher, trainer, special commissioner for the Italian Red Cross, coordinator for medical associations and co-author of the book "Come salvare i bambini dal soffocamento" (How To Save Children From Choking).
"I was working on a project for about 10 years -- obstructed airway maneuvers with children -- when I realized that in Italy, every week a child dies due to a foreign body lodged in his/her airway, and bystanders do not know how to act and are unable to perform those simple, practical, lifesaving emergency procedures that could save that child " says Squicciarini. "So, I prepared brochures and videos , then I decided to make them available to blind mothers. When I asked for help on Facebook to have them translated in English, I received 300 answers from translators willing to do it for free. At that very moment, I saw the possibility of creating a website for translating clinical records of sick children from families with financial issues and referred by hospitals. It was all done in a month, and on September 1, 2012, T4C was born! it is a world where professional translators and interpreters meet pediatrics, exclusively on a voluntary basis".
The very first kid saved with T4C is from a small town near Medjugorje, Bosnia Herzegovina. A two-year-old child affected by a brain tumor who needed his medical records to be translated urgently, consisting of a folder of documents in Croatian, Bosnian and Cyrillic. It was done in little more than a week. That was just six days after the launch of the website. Since then, 21 cases have been treated, around 600 translators and interpreters give their time to this cause, working with 39 languages, and 62 pediatricians decided to make available their expertise. So far the website has been translated in English, French, Spanish, German and Russian to give more chances to other kids around the world. An APP was developed to send files from smartphones.
A project like this grows along the way and is expanding its working tools. Currently, T4C has under way the development of an online platform for translators and editors, a multilingual terminological memory of pediatric medical records, a database of all recurring abbreviations in pediatrics; the mapping of major pediatric hospitals in the world, some working groups linked to international universities, and a structure connecting online the interpreter at the ER directly to the people in need is on the way also using videolinks in case of sign language. And that's not all, there is much more in the pipeline.
"My biggest dream is for T4C to become a worldwide tool, a wide-reaching platform, so that every child can have a second medical opinion in any language, without discriminating against communities who speak the less-known languages" says doctor Squicciarini. "I would like T4C to receive the help it needs to grow but I also would like for our tools to be used and shared. This project goes beyond me, beyond all of us, it's for the world's children, all our children. I think of a network where translators, interpreters, pediatricians, hospitals and volunteers keep in touch and refer to it. It could become an international hub on the model of the well-known PatientsLikeMe website. We could provide scholarships to professional translators and pediatricians, invest over who may create a career path that does not exist today, focused on the improvement of the children's quality of life; finally, it would be nice to have the UN somehow involved".
Sometime dreams are not just dreams and come true, especially when the dreamer is a visionary with his feet well on the ground, such as Dr. Squicciarini. He is someone who still has the courage to dream and push big ideas. Initially, his insights may leave you breathless, puzzled and off-guard, but as one manages to know more, one realizes that Dr. Squicciarini's plans are far from being unrealistic, and one gets caught by an infectious enthusiasm, stemming from his real and deep love for life. The whole project pivots on his clear and concrete ideas on children and life in the broadest sense, and on how to help those in need and mitigate their tragic circumstances.
Therefore, Happy Birthday T4C and many more to come!