Dear GlobeMed at University of Cincinnati Supporters,
As mentioned in our last update, a team of four GlobeMed at UC members is spending three weeks with our partner—Social Action for Women (SAW)—in Mae Sot, Thailand. The team members are Ceejay Boyce (External Co-President 2013/14), Codee Boyce (Campaigns Coordinator 2013/14), Shanelle Davner (Campaigns Coordinator 2012/13), and Adam Voegele (GROW Coordinator 2012/13). The GROW Internship started on July 30th and the team will be there until August 22nd. As part of the trip, our team will be assessing our partnership with SAW, learning more about the area—including visits with local migrant schools and migrant worker organizations, and observing the implementation of the Community Health Outreach Program Phase II: Training of Peer Educators. Our team is lucky to have to opportunity to see the impact our fundraising has made on the lives of the Burmese migrant workers, women, and children. Our chapter, and partner, cannot thank donors enough for your gracious help in making this second phase of our project possible. In order for you to see how successful our work with SAW has been, here are two stories SAW reported to us from the first phase of CHOP.
As Phase I focused on the importance of educating Burmese migrant workers about reproductive health and preventable diseases like skin diseases, our case studies focus on the importance of education and how educating a group of people within the community to act as points of contact and share all this new information about health can prevent future problems in the community:
“In one case, a woman in one of the workshops said that she was pregnant even after she received a sterilization procedure. After looking into her story, we realized that she had conceived prior to her procedure. We also realized that she misunderstood that even if she had been sterilized, any fertilization prior to the procedure could still result in pregnancy. So we explained what sterilization is and the exact effects of the procedure with her. Before coming to our workshop, she thought that sterilization was not very effective and unreliable. She had shared this uninformed opinion with her friends and they accepted it as fact. After the workshop, she understood the truth and promised that she would correct her misinformation and share the facts with her friends.
In another case, a woman was pregnant after one year of marriage. However, she was unaware of her pregnancy even though there were some signs such as vomiting. She had been working in a job where she was required to carry heavy things. Because she was not aware of her pregnancy, she continued her job and kept lifting heavy loads all day. At two months, the woman miscarried while using the bathroom. When she went to the Thai hospital, the nurses thought she had aborted her pregnancy intentionally and she was heavily scolded. When she attended our workshop, we explained to her the signs of pregnancy so that something like this wouldn’t happen again.”
When we first heard these personal stories, we realized just how significant our health education project was. With the completion of Phase I, there has been noticeable improvement in the amount of knowledge in each community. We hope that with the implementation of Phase II, we can solidify this knowledge with permanent points of contact with the important information community members may need between health care visits from the Mobile Medical Team. Once the GROW team has returned and Phase II is further along, we hope to have more updates to provide on how our project is going.
In closing, we would like to thank you for your continued support in our efforts in Mae Sot. Hearing about, and seeing first-hand through our GROW trips, the impact we have made on the lives of these people by simply providing them what we often times take for granted—education—is both gratifying and humbling. We can only hope that our success continues, and we can keep funding more projects to help these communities thrive and work towards a brighter future.
Yours in health,
Ceejay Boyce and Mahima Venkatesh
Co-presidents, GlobeMed at University of Cincinnati
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