By Lyne Audrey Chezem Tekobou (YES 2014 - 2015, Cameroon, hosted by CIEE in Natural Bridge, VA)
YES alumni in Cameroon organized the project Give Blood Give Life in order to decrease stigmatization and fear of giving blood as well as inform people of the benefits to blood donation. Oftentimes, people don't understand the benefit of giving blood, and instead associate it with medical malpractices. If they do decide to donate blood, they expect to be paid. Because of this, it was difficult at first to find people willing to donate blood. However, once YES alumni told people they would not only help to save many lives, but would also get blood tests done for free, many people felt more comfortable giving blood.
At the end of the day, donors left feeling satisfied and well cared for. Ultimately, we were able to collect 15 sacs of blood and grew the blood donor family at the Central Hospital of Yaoundé. I am so happy I led this project because it helped me not only develop my knowledge of blood donation, but also allowed me to meet new people who share the same understanding that something even small can have a positive impact on our community. I am thankful for being part of the KL-YES family because it has shaped me into a better person who is aware of and who wants to solve some issues in her local community.