When Dr. Maria Boria was made aware of the needs of the migrant workers in our community, she immediately offered her services and set about creating a clinic. For Maria, the situation was not acceptable. And the solution was simple: they are here; they are human beings; they need our help.
Maria has a long and respected reputation for philanthropy. After completing her medical training in Italy, she established a women’s hospital in Kerala, India, that has grown into a major medical institution and now includes a medical college. She came to the United States in 1970 as an Associate Professor at New York Medical College where she trained other medical professionals and provided care for the poor in clinics in New York City. In 1981 she moved to Chestertown where she established a successful practice in obstetrics and gynecology, continued her community service, and raised her family.
Maria leads by example. The initial start-up costs for the clinic in Marydel were essentially funded with her own resources. Her commitment served as inspiration for the first Women Helping Women Concert in 2006. To maximize an initial donation, we reached out to the performing artists in our community and asked if they would be willing to help with an event we hoped would raise awareness as well as funds for the clinic. The indomitable Sue Matthews, an internationally renowned performer, signed on as the producer and immediately set about recruiting the all-female cast. Our first concert was a rousing success, not only in terms of raising funds for the clinic, but also in celebrating the extraordinary power of “women helping women.” Sue and Lucia Foster, Artistic Director of the Prince, remain at the helm and with our talented performers they are ready to embark on the annual concert.
Your generosity has enabled Dr. Boria to provide medical care for hundreds of women and their families at the Marydel clinic. Equipment purchased from your donations made follow-up possible for women with abnormal pap smears. Dr. Boria was able to detect numerous cases of precancerous lesions. Early diagnosis and proper treatment are saving women’s lives. She has cared for patients suffering from depression and referred suicidal cases to appropriate mental health facilities. She treated a young woman who nearly died from massive internal hemorrhaging when an ectopic pregnancy ruptured. The girl had been repeatedly raped. With help from the Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence, an ongoing police investigation resulted in the apprehension of a human trafficking perpetrator.
In addition to providing basic healthcare services, Maria has hired several women from the migrant community to work on a part-time basis assisting with the clinic. This enables her to work more effectively, provide translation services for her patients, job training, a small salary and priceless empowerment for her fledgling staff. One of her first assistants has gone on to college – the only member in her family to pursue the dream of higher education. Not surprisingly, her goal is a degree in nursing.
Ours is a small effort, but an important one.
As long as Maria continues her volunteer work, our support is needed. She is an example of the difference one woman can make in our world, and her inspiration demands our response.