Lack of access to medical care is a very serious problem in many African countries, where large populations live in rural or bush areas. Some have never seen a medical caretaker; disability and death commonly occur from medical problems considered minor or nonexistent here in the U.S.
As part of HARAMBEE’s holistic approach to community development, we’ve launched our GROW A DOC project. This offers scholarship funds to qualified students from underserved areas, where young men and women –just as bright and motivated as our students—have no hope of higher education. We will fund training for nursing or medical director programs (the backbone of health care in most African countries) or, in some cases, for medical school. Cost of these programs is about $3,000 per year, plus another $1,500 for books, housing, food, and clothing. In return, students agree to work in their home (underserved) area for a specified time after graduation. We are particularly targetting young women for scholarships, to promote gender equality in a culture where it's often difficult for girls to attain higher education.
This is a wonderful dream for us. It encourages development of Africa’s human resources, reduces unjust suffering and death, and lessens the incidence of “brain drain” from developing African countries. When you consider the number of lives that a doctor or nurse touches during a career lifetime, the impact of our program is beyond measure.
GROW A DOC will work within the context of the AMEN
project, a collaboration comprising African university medical programs, Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine, and HARAMBEE.
Kenyan students will partner with visiting U.S. volunteer medical students for education and service. We’ll begin with scholarly work such as needs assessment surveys and information gathering. Students will be mentored via web conferencing with faculty in Kenya and in the U.S. As they enter clinical training, students will do guided patient care. Because this work will begin in areas where HARAMBEE has established a presence, it will feed into existing economic and education initiatives, completing the cycle of community development.
Our first three scholarship candidates
have come through St. Aloysius Gonzaga
secondary school in Kibera, the world’s largest slum. Father Terry Charlton, S.J., founder of St. Ag’s, is working with us to recommend students and track their progress. They are terrific young people, who already have overcome enormous hardship to complete high school and qualify for college. We also have two students from Naivasha's Upendo Village, and they are attending Kenya Methodist University in Meru.
As with all our projects, we can’t do this without your help. When you next need a birthday gift, or anniversary, Christmas, or “thank you” gifts for family, friends, or teachers, please consider donating to GROW A DOC. We have lovely gift cards for you to give, stating you’ve made a donation in the recipient’s name. If you have a special request for a card, we’ll create what you want! Any amount will be acknowledged and appreciated. Email us what you would like and where to send it.
These students know that God understands Swahili…because you are an answer to their prayers!