Why Do We Volunteer to Help People in Other Countries? | Connecticut Public Radio

Why Do We Volunteer to Help People in Other Countries?

Nov 4, 2014

Credit Horia Varlan/flickr creative commons

As elections are held across the U.S., raising the volume on what needs fixing in America, many Americans choose to work on helping citizens in other countries. Whether paid, or unpaid, we wonder what inspires work that says we are living now in a global village.

Bill and Melinda Gates are using their fortune to work on public health problems in other countries. Doctors and other medical personnel have headed straight to countries hit by life-threatening Ebola. And others risk life and limb to volunteer in war zones. What inspires this commitment to the world's citizens outside America's borders?

Our guests include Dr. Kinari Webb, a Yale University graduate, who is founder of Health in Harmony, an organization devoted to saving forests in Indonesia, while working to improve the health of citizens in the forest region. Renowned Yale Hematologist Dr. Thomas Duffy, now retired, explains why he volunteers his services on the Health in Harmony board.

If you support causes that help people in other countries, or work on projects anywhere outside America, call and tell us what inspired you.

Join the conversation by email, on Twitter, or on Facebook.


  • Thomas Duffy is a retired hematologist.
  • Kinari Webb is the founder of Health in Harmony.
  • Kathleen White is a director of Health in Harmony. 


  • “Gne Gne,” Montefiori Cocktail
  • “Central Nervous Piston,” El Ten Eleven
  • “Sorry About Your Irony,” El Ten Eleven
  • “My Only Swerving,” El Ten Eleven

Lori Mack and Jonathan McNicol contributed to this show.