WASITRAC Launches Drive Against Cancer-- a Hidden Challenge for International Students in the Us

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As hundreds of thousands of international students come to the US every year, they bring in the much needed revenue every state needs to fund their higher education, research and development. However, the US health care system is not yet built to help the very few students who require coverage for more expensive treatments, like that for cancer.

Fight against Cancer illustration

Fight against cancer

States need more revenue to fund higher education and to an extent, they solve this by enrolling international students, but at the same time our health care policy does not always help these international students when they need it most.

Recent data shows United States is the number one destination for students from India for their higher studies. Currently, there are more than 100,000 students from India studying in the United States, each paying a tuition fee three or four times more than in-state students. With state financing cut by more than half in the last several years, many universities increased admission to students overseas. States need more revenue to fund higher education and to an extent, they solve this by enrolling international students, but at the same time our health care policy does not always help these international students when they need it most, particularly when they are diagnosed with diseases such as cancer.

Cancer is not a young person’s disease. In fact, the number of cancer cases within the typical college-age group is relatively rare. However, the cost of treatment for cancer in the U.S. is not only prohibitive but also not covered by most students’ insurance.

In the coming days, Washington State and India Trade Relations Action Committee (WASITRAC), a Seattle-based non-profit trade advocacy group, will launch a fundraising drive to help an international student from India, who continues his coursework despite undergoing treatment for leukemia (AML) at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. He is one of the many ambitious international students who come to the U.S. hoping to excel in their academic pursuits and give back to the world in some way.

“We hope to create more awareness about this issue. Cancer may be very rare among the international students, but it is still there and the treatment is expensive. Students, who come from abroad, are not only brilliant but can contribute a lot to this nation. The least our educational institutions should be able to do is ensure them with some kind of provision that would cover such eventuality,” says Habib H. Habib, co-chair of WASITRAC.

The Shirdi Sai Baba Sanstha, Shirdi Sai Temple based in Illinois which was established under the patronage of well known scholar and philanthropist Guruji Sri C.B.Satpathy launched HELP TO ENDURE, a community service project. The project is open to all, aims to ease pain and suffering in life, bring some comfort and help especially to those who are enduring their pain and hardships alone by offering help, especially to International students from India. Cases are accepted based on temple's ability to serve, the available resources, and on their philosophy of one at a time.

“With our leaders in US Congress moving slow on different reforms, like immigration and health care, we felt there was a need to involve community members to help these international students. This might inspire other ethnic communities to do the same for the students coming from their countries,” adds Debadutta Dash, the other co-chair of WASITRAC.

More information about this drive can be found at http://www.wasitrac.org/.

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Debadutta Dash
WASITRAC
(206) 330-8512
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