YES Alumni know how critical good health is to one's quality of life. In October, alumni from around the world conducted health-focused projects to improve the lives of those in their home communities. Read on for healthy inspiration!
1. Doctors for Peace is an ongoing project led by alumni in Jordan that provides primary medical care for Syrian refugees and underprivileged Jordanian families (photo above). On October 28, Doctors for Peace held its fifth event in Mafraq city, where the highest number of Syrian refugees outside of an official camp live. After procurring medications, the alumni volunteers collaborated with the Jordan Relief Organization to pick up 344 refugee patients, bring them to clinics, and take them home after treatment. Our hearts go out to these alumni as they care for the hearts, minds, and bodies of others.
2. Hersa Bregu (YES ’17), an alumna from Albania, gathered a team of five friends and volunteers on October 16 to help the local hospital in Berati raise awareness of the importance of regular breast examinations, which are available free of charge at the local hospital. Hersa and her team distributed paper flowers and information door-to-door and in the streets. Fifty women took advantage of the hospital's free examinations as a result of their efforts. Let’s raise our pink ribbons to this initiative!
3. In celebration of Make a Difference Day, the Cameroon YES Alumni Association organized a blood drive at the General Hospital of Douala on October 28. The alumni sought to debunk the taboo of donating blood in their community. Alongside the hospital’s physicians, the alumni helped administer the three phases of donating blood: a physical tests of the 20 donors, reviewing donor medical history, and collecting the donations. At the conclusion of the drive, the physicians educated the donors and alumni about the importance of blood donation and the positive impact this voluntary act has on communities. We can see that these communities efforts were not in ‘vein.’
4. Like their colleagues in Albania, Suriname YES alumni Ryvann Soerohardjo (YES ’13) and Shenaya Hardjopawiro (YES ’14) also organized a breast cancer awareness information session. This session was geared for ninth grade girls at the Willem Van Lier Mulo School in Domburg on October 28, and the goal of the session was to educate the students about breast cancer for early detection and prevention. The two YES Alumni also promoted the YES program to encourage students to participate in the future.
5. On October 28, YES alumni in Lebanon organized an event at a mental health hospital for women in the Baalbek District called Monastery of Shlifa. They brought food for the winter, which they delivered to the nuns and nurses, and then met with 25 patients aged 16-90. The alumni threw a small party to provide a break in routine for the women, who are often socially excluded by their families and communities. We agree that human connection and kindness is often the best medicine!
YES alumni in Lebanon deliver food to Monastery of Shlifa, a mental health hospital in the Baalbek District.
6. Dr. Solomon Lukolm (YES ’06), Dr. Jennifer Makzen (YES ’07), and Parkwat Walkyes (YES ’12), all YES alumni from Nigeria, partnered with the Cocin Church Tudun and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control to organize a three-day health education workshop for residents of Jos in Plateau State from October 11-13. Alumni educated over 150 participants between the ages 25 and 70 about the prevalence, risk factors, causes, and prevention of hypertension, diabetes, and viral hepatitis. They also talked about disease management for those who are already affected. The alumni also took the participants’ blood pressure and provided them with counseling depending on their results. Oh kale yeah, we are so pleased to hear about this healthy living workshop!
7. On October 10, Jelena Pilipovic (YES '16) organized a series of lectures on the importance of mental health in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Approximately 25 high school students and adults participated in the event, which featured two local psychologists discussing techniques for improving mental health, particularly when dealing with stress and anxiety, and how to combat the stigma that so often surrounds mental illness. Following the lecture, participants watched Silver Linings Playbook, an American film about a young man learning to live with mental illness. Three cheers for Jelena and her continued dedication to others' mental health.
Mental health lecture in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina