On Friday, April 1st through Saturday, April 2nd, thousands of UC Berkeley students shook their groove thangs at the annual Dance Marathon. As co-chair this year, I not only had an up-close and personal relationship with the planning process for DM, but I was able to meet a few people who work for the foundation DM benefits – the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. I visited family in Washington, DC during spring break and had time to stop by the Foundation’s DC office. The atmosphere of the office – filled with pictures of African children and landscapes from all over the world – reflected the focus of all the people who work there. They all have a passion for fighting pediatric AIDS and working to institute changes in global health. Talking with several people from the Elizabeth Glaser team gave me an even bigger motivational boost to make this year’s Dance Marathon a huge success. And let me tell you, it most definitely was!
Dance Marathon 2011 - Oh the Places We'll Go!
This year we raised over $53,000 for the Foundation! Dancers enjoyed great music, food, entertainment (even aerial circus performers!), and guest speakers talking about the Foundation’s work around the world. Check out the DailyCal’s Article about DM this year. And to all the Berkeley DM Dancers out there – thank you for all your hard work and dedication to fighting pediatric AIDS. This year we exceeded our fundraising goal! DM shows the power of a youth movement to make global change – and it doesn’t mean you have to have a ton of money, it is all about spreading awareness and telling your network of family and friends that it only takes $15 to give a women the necessary treatment she needs to prevent transmission of HIV to her baby – yep only $15 (thats might be your Starbucks allowance for the work week).
We raised $53,478 this year! Way to go UC Berkeley DM!
One of the most inspirational global health champions fighting for health equity is Dr. Paul Farmer. He is an inspirational activist and actor in the field of development. Farmer is a co-founder of the non-governmental organization (NGO), Partner’s in Health (PIH). Partner’s in Health builds hospitals in twelve countries, including Haiti, Peru, and Rwanda, to provide free health care for people in resource-limited settings and strengthen existing public health infrastructures in those settings. After taking a course at UC Berkeley about HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa and gaining an informed perspective about NGO’s roles in public health, I support organizations that promote a community health worker model that empowers local people to build a public health infrastructure in their community that best suits their community’s needs. Continue reading
My site director, Kirsty, in Ghana called me to talk about my upcoming internship. Kirsty is a friendly woman with quite a strong Scottish accent. She warned me to let her know if I didn’t understand what she said, but I was so excited to discuss my project that I listened closely.
In my application and interviews I expressed my interest in working on health-related projects. Kirsty suggested two possible projects for me. The first is a community health outreach project where I would present to women and girls in schools, and the community about basic health information. I would present on sanitation, HIV/AIDS and other preventable diseases. The second project Kirsty presented entails girls’ sexual rights with a focus on sexual health and HIV/AIDS. I would present to women in rural and local schools to de-stigmatize and reeducate women on sexual rights and HIV/AIDS prevention.
I was immediately drawn to the second project because on my background in HIV/AIDS education and interest in global health projects. I also feel that how Kirsty explained the HIV/AIDS prevention project, I will have more responsibilities while in Ghana and will be able to have a dialogue with the women I interact with, opposed to just talking at them. I anticipate being challenged while working on my project, but I can’t wait to see what Ghanaian women have to teach me while I work on my project. The way I see it, yes, I will be educating women on HIV/AIDS prevention methods, but I predict that the women I interact with will teach me in return.