Graduate learned from WCSU professors to be involved and take chances
Tyler Balding moved across the world to help others
When WCSU graduate Tyler Balding decided to move halfway across the world to help others live better, safer lives, he had no idea he would be delivering babies, assisting in medical procedures and burying people killed by their own government.
What Balding learned from his professors as an undergraduate studying political science is that becoming involved and taking chances are the only ways to make a difference in the world.
After earning a political science degree from Western in 2005 and a law degree in 2008, the New Milford native headed to Africa and is now the administrator for Mother of Mercy Hospital in Gidel, Sudan.
“There’s always a crisis mode and always somewhere you can help,” he said. “I try to figure out where I can be the most help.”
Balding has been in the war-torn region for three years and recently returned to the States to drum up support and raise awareness that the people to whom he is dedicated are victim to unspeakable atrocities. The area — rich in gold and oil — is shelled on a regular basis. In a May visit to the United Nations, Balding and representatives from the Diocese of El Obeid pleaded for help in their goals to cease bombing, allow popular consultation and allow humanitarian access.
“They have stopped aid from getting in,” Balding said about the local government. “We’re doing it by our own means — in their eyes illegally. It’s going to get worse and worse. They are bombing people into starvation. My job is to make people aware of what’s going on.”
As head of human resources for the hospital, he oversees 130 Sudanese and expatriate employees and supervises health programs. The 200-bed facility serves 30,000 outpatients annually and serves a region of 2 million people.
“It’s the only hospital for an area about the size of South Carolina,” he said.
Looking back on his experience at Western, Balding said he can’t think of a better place to have developed the skills he uses now to help others.
“What’s great about WCSU is you are really able to take initiative and use resources to do things that aren’t an option at other universities,” he said.
Western, he said, was seen as a community school in the early 1990s, “but the faculty and administration enable student to make it more. Wise planning and investing in the infrastructure before the economic downturn was a boon to the university and the community. Western continued to grow when other schools were suffering. I got to see and benefit from the transition.”