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Kimberley

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African Mothers Health Initiative
November 7, 2012

After spending 5 months volunteering with this organization in Malawi, I returned to the U.S. to continue my nursing career. But, I still wanted to stay involved! I have now joined the team here in the U.S. to do fundraising and promote African Mothers Health Initiative and the wonderful work they do to support high risk infants and mothers in Malawi. It is such a good way to stay grounded and remind ourselves how fortunate we are relative to many people in the world. This work really speaks to my values, one of which is summed up well in the quote "The measure of your life will not be in what you accumulate, but in what you give away". Support this group! They are amazing!

More feedback

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

MY ROLE:
Volunteer

African Mothers Health Initiative
March 23, 2011

My name is Kimberley, and I have come to Malawi “in-between jobs” to volunteer for a small non-profit organization called African Mother's Health Initiaitve based in Lilongwe, the capitol of Malawi. Unfortunately, and for a multitude of reasons, Malawi remains one of the poorest nations on earth. Maternal mortality rates are some of the highest in the world, and 12% of children die here before age 5; most of those within the first 30 days of life. Lack of nurses and doctors is beyond shortage...it is dire. There are currently less than 300 doctors practicing in Malawi, and with a population close to 13 million, that translates to about 2 for every 100,000 people. As anywhere, most care is provided by nurses, but newly trained nurses often leave the country immediately after graduation for better paying jobs abroad. This is the environment that African Mother's Health Initiative has grown from and is making a real difference for so many.

After identifying high risk mothers and babies in hospital, AMHI provides home based nursing care directly to families in remote villages around Lilongwe district. Children without a breastfeeding mother are supported with infant formula if the family is unable to afford it.

A personal story:
Working alone one afternoon at the hospital-based office during my first week, organizing folders, and sorting through cardboard boxes of donated baby clothes, I looked up to find a young doctor standing at the open door asking “Are you still open?”. “Yes”, I replied, “come in”. She explained that the hospital had had a maternal death that morning, leaving behind a two month old baby. The older parents of the mother were currently in the hospital chapel, and would take the baby with them back to their small village, but they had no money to buy formula to feed him. I felt a wave of gladness that I knew what to do and could help. I told her that she was in the right place, and assured her that I would call and pass along the information to our one of our nurses, who would go over to the chapel as soon as possible. A few minutes after the doctor left, I sat alone in the quiet room and felt a wave of another emotion; grief. The tears came suddenly to the surface and it struck me; this would be my first orphan, the mother dead just six hours. I had already learned that in this country, this baby would most likely die soon after as well without our help.

A week after the baby was enrolled in the program and formula provided, I met the him when his grandmother brought him to our office for a visit, tied snugly to her chest with a cloth, the way all women carry small babies here. He looked well, but was crying a lot and the grandmother said he had trouble feeding. The nurse did an assessment and then demonstrated formula preparation and a healthier spoon-feeding technique. Eating quickly and easily, he soon fell into a peaceful asleep. We found that this little boy had aptly been named Chiconde, meaning Love.

Everyday the work of African Mother's Health Initiative amazes and moves me. I have worked here for nearly four months now and will be returning to the States soon to be with my family. However, I cannot imagine ending my support and trust in this organization and it's work for some of the most vulnerable children imaginable.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

(see story above)

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find more donor support as well as encourage government support and participation.

More feedback

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Introducing me to the realities of life experienced by the majority of Malawian people as well as the sad reality of high Maternal death rates in countries like Malawi.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Inspired and dedicated

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & I worked in the office as the volunteer office administrator/coordinator: organizing and updating patient forms and files, computer data entry, managing a volunteer pool and supporting the nurses in their work.