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Whether I was aware of it or not, a career in global health always seemed to be my destiny. In junior high, I wanted to do medical missionary work. In high school, it became international women’s health advocate and doctor. In college, it’s morphed into a more ambiguous overall passion for global health, which has ranged from interest in MD-PHD to international NGO staff member. I quite honestly do not know what direction my life will take, only that I want it to matter not just in a vague sense, but in a measurable sense of impact on the health of individuals worldwide.
Last summer, I spent 6 weeks on the Haitian-Dominican border (you can read more about that at www.summerinjimani.tumblr.com). This experience was monumental in terms of personal growth. I’ve never felt joy more simple and pure than I did when giggling with the village children over my ineptitude in learning Haitian Creole, meeting the staff of Chadasha Christian Mission who share the same heart to improve the general well being of others, and most importantly, when building relationships with the orphans at the children’s home. I noticed how the depth of each connection, the impact the kids had on me, and how with each passing week my role became more comfortable and natural. My appreciation for the value of long-term volunteerism deepened, and I decided I wanted to find long-term experiences to be involved in.
When I found the Uganda Village Project Internship, I couldn’t have imagined a better combination of both my personal desires for volunteerism and my ambitious (yet vague) career goals. This is the kind of opportunity that just seems to fit. Not just in a factual sense of being a good career move, but more in the way that it resonates with the core of who I am: what I’m most passionate about, the values I stand for, the kind of grassroots and ethical development work I want to support.
During the internship, we will be supporting the Healthy Village Program, a crucial aspect of the Uganda Village Project’s work. Uganda Village Project partners with other community-based organizations and local government to make sure that programs fit local needs and are sustainable for long-term success. Ugandan staff members implement programs hand-in-hand with Village Health Teams, who are community-elected volunteers who agree to involve their villages in health projects and teach about how to keep their families safe from diseases like malaria, HIV, or diarrhea.
I believe this is a great cause. Uganda Village Project brings access, education, and prevention of health issues to rural villagers who might otherwise not have resources to keep themselves and their families healthy. The projects are often very simple–like finding ways to make it easy for people to wash their hands–but they make a big difference. By donating to the Uganda Village Project, you are not just helping me to participate in this program, but supporting the life-changing work of an incredible organization.
Your donation will support health programming in Iganga District. This could be the purchase of mosquito nets to prevent malaria, holding an HIV outreach to educate and test community members, or sending a nurse to villages every quarter to provide family planning methods to women who otherwise have little access to contraceptives. Thanks to your support, Uganda Village Project can provide the education and tools that villagers need to stay healthy.
About Uganda Village Project
Since 2003, Uganda Village Project has been working with the people of Iganga to promote public health and sustainable development in the rural communities of this marginalized district in southeast Uganda. We work at a village-by-village level to address the most pressing healthcare concerns of each community, including malaria, HIV and STIs, household sanitation and hygiene, family planning access, obstetric fistula awareness and repair, and provision of clean water through shallow wells.
Uganda Village Project trains locally-elected volunteers called Village Health Teams (VHTs), and then works in partnerships with the VHTs, community-based organizations, and local government to educate and encourage healthy changes in each of the villages where we work. Our flagship effort is our “Healthy Villages” program, a village-by-village system that addresses the most pressing healthcare concerns of each community, including prevention of malaria, education and testing of HIV and STIs, improved household sanitation and hygiene, and access to family planning services. We also work with obstetric fistula awareness and repair and provision of clean water through shallow wells.