10 Years of Volunteers: Volunteers Make our Impact Possible

 

Summer 2018 Communications Intern Maddy, Research Intern Annabel, Research Intern Anna, and Country Director Courtney

 

Over 10 years we’ve welcomed 86 volunteers in Uganda and countless volunteers in Canada who have performed over 27,967 volunteer hours!

 

Interns in our program have executed communications, programs and monitoring and evaluation, and research. Our professional volunteer program has hosted dozens of volunteer midwives, supporting Shanti staff with daily operations at the Birth House. Other volunteers have worked on event planning and execution, fundraising, grant writing, graphic design, web design, bookkeeping, and administrative/office tasks. Volunteers help keep Shanti running.

Unlike other volunteer programs, our program is deeply rooted within the community we serve, looking to our community partners, clients, and Ugandan staff for direction on how best to improve health services for families in Uganda. Our volunteers and staff commit to working with no ego and put the voices of our Ugandan stakeholders at the forefront of everything we do.

Sabrina Fields, Programming Intern, reflects on the Shanti Uganda difference:

“Shanti Uganda predominantly operates as a maternal health center but it also does so much more than that. Initially, I was reluctant to accept a position in Uganda because I didn’t want to contribute to bad development practices or be a part of an organization with a white savior complex. After researching I discovered a few things I like about Shanti: they hire Ugandan staff, the Ugandan staff they work with are informed about the decisions they want to make and frequently input ideas, they are an environmentally friendly organization focused on sustainability, they are also focused on creating and maintaining sustainable programs.”

 

Midwife Winnie, Global Advocate Meagan Bernatchez, and Midwife Cissy

 

Meagan Bernatchez, our first ever Mama Hope Global Advocate reflects on her four months in Kasana, Luwero:

“Being a part of the daily fabric of life in Kasana opened my heart to the power of community-driven work. I learned so much from the Shanti midwives and staff members; some things were explicit in regards to maternal health and the importance of teamwork in a small non-profit setting, and other were implicit like the essences of hospitality, patience, care, integrity and investment in those around you.”

 

Volunteers often receive as much back from the Shanti Uganda staff as they give. Volunteer Midwife Kerry Dixon says:

“What I have learned is that compassionate and kind care transcends language. Loving and respectful touch when examining a pregnant belly can be felt physically and heart-to-heart.

The experience of a Shanti internship often alters the path volunteers professional aspirations take. Many report after their program they wish to pursue courses and careers in maternal and child health, public health, and midwifery.

Daily inspiration found in the Shanti Uganda Vancouver office

 

 

Meagan on her future goals:

“The opportunity to work alongside such a brilliant team confirmed my desire to pursue a Masters in Global Public Health, and I know my time interning in Uganda will inform my studies and the perspective I contribute in an academic setting. The skills I took away from this experience I will bring with me into a next career move but the stories and friendships I made in Uganda will come with me always.”
Our volunteers have made our impact of  8,984 antenatal visits, 1,315 births, 1,215 family planning services, and 0 maternal deaths possible. We want to express a deep appreciation and gratitude for each and every one of our volunteers over these 10 years. Thank you for your generosity. Your willingness to make things work in the face of challenges. Your wholehearted dedication and commitment. You make our impact possible.

 

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