A 19-year-old woman attending the University of Virginia is taking a year to do volunteer work at the U.N. before starting medical school with a plan to devote her live to global health. A young woman in Afghanistan had to flee her country for safety reasons and is one of 3 million displaced Afghans.
What do they have in common?
ChildFund International board member Dr. Karen Hein told this story at the Albert P. William Lecture on Health Policy at the RAND Corp. in California on June 11 in a presentation called “Kids Over There – Why Should I Care? Health Care Challenges in Developing Nations.” RAND is a nonprofit that strives to improve government policy and decision-making through research and analysis.
Hein, who also serves on RAND’s Health Advisory Board, discussed her experiences related to international health and youth development, including her work with ChildFund after the 2004 tsunami. She helped establish child centered spaces, which provided food and a safe space for children among the devastation.
Hein explained to the audience composed of RAND board members and staff, ChildFund donors, International Rescue Committee (IRC) donors and interested people in the Los Angeles area, that there are not enough humanitarian health workers – the global financial crisis has led to fewer donations, increased food prices and organizations being kick out of some regions, such as Darfur.
Hein says that telling true stories from the field shows people what works and why. She told the story of the woman at the University of Virginia and the woman in Afghanistan to show that there is hope for displaced people in countries such as Afghanistan. Those two people really aren’t different people – it’s the same person, Sahar Adish, a Peabody Award-winning documentary maker.
She was in an IRC camp in Pakistan and was able to resettle in Charlottesville, Va., thanks to the support of donors of resettlement programs in the U.S. She graduated in 2008 and is now applying to medical school.
Hein asked the audience to continue their support of people such as Sahar and to “be the change you wish to see in the world.”