The Little Things was founded by Rathaven Gunaratnarajah on the 1st August 2013. Rathaven was 20 years old at the time, and was studying as a third year biomedical science student at the University of Kent. He is currently a fourth year medical student at the University of Manchester.
In August 2013, Rathaven returned from a two-week trip to Tanzania. He spent one of those two weeks climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in aid of Meningitis Research Foundation and the other volunteering in St. Elizabeth Hospital, Arusha. During his placement at St. Elizabeth Hospital, Rathaven was dismayed by the stark reality of inadequate healthcare in a developing country. He saw a plethora of needless suffering during his week at St. Elizabeth Hospital. A lot of times Rathaven wished he could do something more than just observe. This feeling stuck with him, and so he returned to the UK determined to assist St Elizabeth Hospital.
He started researching exactly what was involved in starting up a charity and also made a rough schematic of the work he would have to put in over the following years. He decided that the first project would be to equip a desperately needed eye clinic for St Elizabeth Hospital, at an estimated cost of £25,000. He planned to raise the funds for this project by organising exhilarating, adventurous fundraising events for university students, such as skydiving and mountain trekking.
Rathaven worked tirelessly to bring his dreams to life through The Little Things. On the 22nd May 2015, The Little Things was registered with The Charity Commission and the charity began its journey to improve healthcare in developing countries.
Rathaven’s passion for improving healthcare in developing countries inspired countless fellow students to sympathise with the cause, and contribute their time and effort voluntarily. Rathaven assembled a team of students to whom he could delegate tasks and the charity had established a presence at a number of universities across the UK. These student volunteers have been the unsung heroes of the charity, and The Little Things will always be grateful and appreciative of their efforts.
The Little Things does not just appeal to university students for funding. The charity also relies on grants and support from schools and also on support from the local community.
Since the charity's inception, The Little Things has managed to successfully complete three healthcare projects:
In July 2015, the first project was completed - funding an eye clinic in Arusha, Tanzania. Surgical and diagnostic equipment necessary for the successful running of an eye clinic were installed in St. Elizabeth Hospital, Arusha. Within days of the equipment being installed, patients that had been blind for years were brought in for surgery that restored their sight.
Following the completion of the first project, The Little Things worked swiftly to ensure that in July 2016, they managed to complete their second project - equipping a premature baby clinic in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka.
In July 2017, the charity completed their third healthcare project by providing vital medical equipment for two hospitals within the Northern Province of Sri Lanka - Base Hospital Point Pedro and Base Hospital Tellippalai. These projects have had a huge impact on the local population and enable access to unprecedented levels of healthcare.
The charity is currently aiming to complete its fourth healthcare project in the summer of 2018. Funds are being raised to support Tamakoshi Co-operative Hospital, Manthali. This hospital only offers basic medical services, but is in need of medical equipment to provide specialist cardiology and gastroenterology services to the community. The Little Things will enable this by raising £50,000 and purchasing an upper GI endoscope and echocardiogram, along with other medical equipment, for this hospital in Nepal.