Someone who i believe in and has inspired me for along time and still does told me this and i want to share it with you. It says, " BE SOMEONE THAT YOU WOULD BE PROUD TO KNOW"
I’m originally from Kenya where people are always facing health hazards and struggling against infectious diseases, poor nutrition and poverty especially among children and women. Therefore I believe that if more research projects are undertaken in Public Health areas including Social & Economic Development along with mandating policies to support the well being of humans in general, we may be able to promote Sustainable Human Development in third world countries including reducing the rates of HIV infection, improving access to basics like safe drinking water and food as well as maintaining the current health status of people globally; all of which are concerns of critical importance to the future and well being of the human race. Hence, my first unofficial public health project happened when I was very young. I’ve always loved children since I can remember and anytime I saw a pregnant woman, I would be so mesmerized with what they must have been experiencing both physically and emotionally.
My epiphany came to me one afternoon when I was 9yrs old and a very pregnant young girl around 15yrs of age walked into our home asking for work and food. She looked like she had walked for miles under the heat, her lips were very dry and she looked very weak. And I just stood there looking at her while she talked to my mum. I remember my mum asking her how she could work in her condition, but she insisted that she could do it and she really needed some help. So my mum told her to stay and she would find some light chores for her to do. I don’t know what happened to me then, but I had this overwhelming feeling. I felt so sad for this poor girl but at the same time I was excited that my mum had let her stay. And I immediately ran to the kitchen and got her some cold water and a chair for her to sit. Then I thought, oh my, she needs food! So I ran back again and found some food that had been left over from lunch, grabbed a plate and a spoon, served some on the plate and ran back to her. She gladly, accepted the food and was very thankful to me and my mum. And while she was eating and my mum had gone about doing her errands, I went to one of the bedroom closets and grabbed one of my older sister dresses and took it to her. And she had this surprising look on her face that I realized she had not been treated with any kindness for a long time and she started crying and I felt so bad that i had done something wrong but then she smiled and said, “thank you, you have such a good heart”. So I smiled back at her and we became friends.
I realized then that I had suddenly made her my project and therefore this was my calling. This was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life-MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN ANOTHER PERSON’S LIFE, IT DOESN’T COST ANYTHING TO BE KIND TO SOMEONE LESS FORTUNATE THAN YOURSELF INSTEAD IT GIVES YOU BLESSINGS IN ABUNDANCE!!
Later in high school I got involved in other Public Health projects when I volunteered with other youth members to distribute condoms and fliers for HIV/AIDS in the community as well as in schools on behalf of the Red Cross Society of Kenya. I always got involved in the discussions on reproductive health issues as this seemed to strike a huge interest in me. Of course, at that time I was 14 years old and most girls my age were not that comfortable talking freely about reproductive health topics, but I would just say what I thought and give my opinion whether it was a class discussion or a debate with friends and that made me stand out. For me, I saw this as a way to solve problems related to teenage pregnancy, STI infections and school dropouts because my parents had raised me to understand that it was important to know how to protect myself from falling prey to such and being a girl meant that I had to take extra precautions to protect myself. They also told me that there would come a time where they wouldn’t be there to advice me on how to leave my life but I would have to make a decision on my own and it was going to be my choice to either follow the right path or the wrong one. Thus, this is what motivated me to become even bolder about issues and to speak out more. It seemed that I would actually have an opinion about everything; but I also loved listening and learning new things from other people.
The people that have been most influential to me after my parents are Shahrukh Khan, someone i had never met in my life; yet his virtues, beliefs and personality inspired me to be who i am today and also my loving brother who was always there for me. Although my parents influenced most of my early years of growing up, after i turned 15 yrs of age, my support system and pillars of guidance and strength changed.
Now that am doing my graduate studies, i have worked with UNICEF-Kenya in projects involved in Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS as well as Improving access of primary education for children (C2C Initiative). And in relation to this, i was was awarded a fellowship by my former university to undertake projects touching on the Human Rights Theme. Thus, i was able to work with youth organizations from the slums in Kenya (SIDAREC) to improve access and quality of PMTCT services for women attending Pumwani Hospital in Nairobi, one of the most overcrowded community hospitals in Nairobi, Kenya.
Similarly, i also recently worked in HIV/AIDS Research in Adolescent Risk Behaviors on data analysis, writting journal abstracts, some of which have been accepted for conferences in the American Public Health Association (APHA) and will later become manuscripts in other public health journals.
I'm currently seeing a trend in our young generations doing Injection Drug Use, Smoking and Tobacco use as well as alcohol abuse, things that not only ruin their health but put them at high risk of HIV infections and other co-infections. This is why we have to work together to change and improve our health and the health of our future generations.!!!!!!
Most of my work past and current projects as well as what health organizations i support can be found in the links below. If you click on the links they will take you directly to the work projects or full project report sites.
www1.umn.edu/humanrts/links/fellowship/2004fellows.html - 41k
RESEARCH ACTIVITIES (PAST)
2004: A Rapid Situation Assessment (RSA) of the Needs of the HIV/AIDS Orphans and their Care-Givers in Rural and Urban Community Settings, Their Care in Homes as well as the care and responsibilities of the Elderly Guardians taking care of them in Kenya (UNICEF KCO, Government of Kenya Policy Draft on Displaced HIV/AIDS Orpharns for 2005)
2005: Next Priorities for Intervention in Kenya: Results from a Cohort Study of Drug Use, HIV and HCV Patterns in Five Urban Areas
2006: A qualitative study on Pumwani Maternity Hospital, the largest regional referral center in Nairobi for low-income obstetric cases in Kenya to help determine factors influencing the utilization of and accessibility of such needed services as STI/HIV services (e.g., Voluntary Counseling and Testing/Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission)
However if you prefer that i put everything on the page then i will. Otherwise take care all and talk to you soon!
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