An Interview with QLC presenters Matthew Walton and Zaamin Hussain
Rayan El Amine
Both Matthew Walton and Zaamin Hussain are Cambrige University students and graduates, that have experience in medicine, and both strive to expand and better understand public health. Both of them act as co-directors of “Naya Qadam”, a global charity that provides low cost limbs for amputees. Some of Matthew’s experiences include filming a documentary for BBC on Naya Qadam’s work in Bangladesh, while Zaamin has just spent a year abroad at Steadman Clinic in USA, helping elite athletes recover from injury. Speaking on their QLC presentations, as well as their relationship, Zaamin and Matthew provided insight on filmmaking, medicine, and helping people in general.
What should students look forward to at your presentations this year?
Students should look forward to an honest 3 presentations from Zaamin and I, speaking from our own experiences about topics that we think will be interesting and enlightening for school students such as yourself.
- The ‘Making People Walk’ presentation will be written by Zaamin and cover our involvement with the charity Naya Qadam, past present and future – starting from the beginning. We hope to be able to take some of the materials and replica limbs for students to see.
- The ‘Aiming for the Top’ presentation will be written by both of us and will be a timeline of conceiving an idea or seizing an opportunity to delivering a performance and following through until succeeding and realising your dream at the end. We’ll use plenty of examples from our own lives that illustrate what we think are some of the key things you need to consider if you’re going to set your mind to something and achieve it. All the time linking back to the most immediate challenge for yourselves- University for those who choose to apply and working life after school. We hope to be able to have each student leave with a bit of a plan for how to achieve and overcome their next challenge.
- The ‘How to Make a Documentary on your iPhone’ presentation will be written by Me, It will cover my background as an amateur video maker and how I transitioned and learned new techniques so that I could adapt into making a video that was shown on the BBC- and a little bit about the ethics of filming vulnerable people, and what I intend to do next. I hope to get the room to make their own iPhone documentary as part of a 15 minute interactive part.
Why do you think QLC was a good platform for your message?
I think the concept of bringing together some of the youngest and brightest minds to learn and be inspired, is fantastic. I know we both as students were inspired in some way to do what we do, by watching presentations just like this – and allowing ourselves to dream and believe that anything was possible in future. I only hope that we can live up to expectation and provide something of value to the young audience. If we can inspire one person we’ll be happy.
As both of you have been in a unique position in terms of medicine, how do you think your perspective differs from other physicians and prospective physicians?
Compared to other physicians, we’re both of course just starting out and have relatively very little experience. As students and soon to be practicing Doctors I think we, like others, both value medicine as an amazing skill set that can be the most valuable in the world in certain circumstances. However I think what differentiates us from other students and Doctors is that we recognise that it’s possible to help people using other skills than just Doctor’s tools and therefore we’re both keen to explore our wide range of outside interests and ideas. Unfortunately they don’t always fit into the box of an average medical career, therefore we’ve both taken big risks in the last year and broken away from the UK system to pursue what we both love: For myself it is spending time with my family and friends, filmmaking and other charity projects away from the Hospital, for Zaamin it is working at the clinic of his dreams in Colorado. It’s important to take command of your own destiny, as you’ve only got one shot at your own life – there’s no re-run and thanks to our 6 years studying in a hospital, we both know how short life can be and both want to make the most of ours.
What do you think is the value of storytelling as a way to spread awareness?
I’ve been reading a book called ‘Talk like TED’ to prepare for this presentation- it goes over some of the greatest ‘TED TALKS’ speakers and tries to scientifically analyse why they’re good. One of the most successful speakers spoke for his Charity and over 18 minutes, he received 60,000 Dollars PER minute he spoke – 80% of his speech was storytelling and only 20% was facts and figures about his charity. Having read that, I now believe storytelling is far more powerful that I realised earlier. Not that I can promise we’ll be able to match that speaker’s example (we’re not that good!)- but it’s good to know before presenting next week that stories are important if you want to make people aware of what you’re doing!
You’re both obviously very qualified, what is the benefit in doing your presentations together?
We present together, I think mainly because we’re great friends and we enjoy doing it. With all the projects we’ve done together, we’ve always been stronger as a pair and been able to support each other, flying like a ‘V’ of birds- once the lead gets tired, we swap. For example Zaamin has an exam in 3 days- during this time i’m replying to emails (like now) to allow him to study, when he’s finished, he’ll take over and give me a rest – it works really well.