By Caterina Amaral
Just as the morning classes began Tuesday, the Association of Ryerson Midwifery Students launched a party for John Murtaugh’s 2,500 mile trek from Toronto to Mexico in Pittman Quad.
Murtaugh is a 69-year-old Torontonian who is looking to fundraise $25,000 for 2,500 miles bicycling from Ryerson to Mexico.
The money Murtaugh raises will go to Amistad Canada, a charity organization created by his late wife, Elizabeth Harris and her mother, which supports Mexican midwifery school, CASA (Centro para los Adolescentes des San Miguel de Allende) in San Miguel de Allende.
The Ryerson Midwifery department and Amistad Canada have had a long relationship ever since faculty professor, Mary Sharpe, and Harris were friends in high school.
“Originally we thought about leaving here from City Hall but [it] actually means a lot more leaving here because of the collaboration.”
Amistad’s donations will provide CASA the salary for their clinical educator who is a local midwife. In addition, money will go to support other CASA projects for children’s literacy and an anti-domestic violence program.
International and Interprofessional Education Coordinator, Loreto Freire, explained that the Midwifery department is merely there to support CASA as the school in Mexico decides with complete independence how they will lead their program and care for their communities.
Freire explained this is valuable as it is empowering midwives from their own communities who may speak their own indigenous language and know their own culture.
Freire mentioned the possibilities that in rural or remote communities, health care may not be available because it’s far and women will have many women may be left unattended, “It’s part of our social justice and solidarity work in the program to be able to support the work they do.”
As one of the students representing ARMS at the launch of the trip, Catherine Cameron said that “it’s important to support midwifery in the local communities that they’re happening as opposed to us sending students there. It’s important to provide support for what’s already present and expand that in the way they want.”
The Midwifery department has already donated to the cause, but second-year student Laura Solis said ARMS understands that students are tight when it comes to money.
For some help ARMS has gotten sponsors. An will be hosting a conference within the next month to help raise more money.
Murtaugh complimented Ryerson’s practice in midwifery. He described midwifery as a practice that helps families lead healthy lives and assist women closely before and after they give birth.
“Ryerson really is involved in that through the midwifery school… I’ve watched it develop. I’ve seen that program develop just as I’ve seen Ryerson develop from a relatively small polytechnic institute to the university it is now. Wonderful to see that happening.”