A Word About Mental Health

In honour of today being #BellLetsTalk day, a national campaign to end the stigma surrounding Mental Health and Illness, I have a word or two to say about mental health.

It’s not always obvious.

As a student nurse who has seen different forms of illnesses and diseases in front of her face, I can tell you that a fracture or wheezing in the lungs tends to be one of our easier cases. There are routine assessments for that sort of thing that have been used and developed by medical professionals and clinical specialists for many years. There are actual diagnoses that these medical professionals and clinical specialists can validate and the rest of the medical team can get behind by. There are treatments and medications for these diseases/illnesses, like insulin or morphine, which have been commonly used and prescribed for these illnesses. So when someone comes in for having an unusually high blood pressure or for spraining a joint, the medical team is prepped and ready to treat it. It’s taken with a high degree of seriousness.

When someone comes up to another person and says they’re feeling depressed, the most common responses are:

“What for? You have a great life – you have nothing to be depressed about!”

“Just try smiling and going out with your friends more!”

“You’ll be fine, just make more of an effort.”

They are quite rarely treated seriously. It is only when very serious things occur due to depression when people begin to realize the magnitude of their words or actions. Why do we have to get to that point?

It is important to be conscious about the effects our words and actions have to other people. It is vital to be understanding, empathetic, and a source of comfort for other people, and not a place of judgement. I believe this to be an “everyday rule” but this significantly applies to mental health. Your mental health is incredibly important. It’s the source of your ability for self-care, the source for your ability to function productively on a day-to-day basis, the source for your ability to interact with others, etc. It’s important to ensure that that part of you is well taken care of.

Mental illness is therefore a physiological, clinical illness that affects that part of the person. Mental illness is a product of neurological and psychological defects. Social construct refuses to see it in that way. Society would have us to believe that mental illness “isn’t real” and that it is just a way for people to “be lazy” and “complain.” I cannot stress this enough but that ideology is 100%, completely and utterly false.

If we buy in to this way of thinking, if we adopt this ideology about mental illness that society would like us to believe, we are facilitating the stigma that surrounds this issue. We are silencing voices that need to be heard. We are condemning the people who have these illnesses to fight a difficult battle alone and to suffer this silently. We are not allowing people the right to access safe, efficient health care that can possibly save their life.

What’s funny is that we wait for when someone takes their own life due to depression to be sorry for our actions.

Mental illness is still so heavily stigmatized. People still don’t take it seriously. People are ignorant about how debilitating it is emotionally and physiologically. You can provide someone with as much clinical proof as possible – that depression, anxiety, bipolar disease, schizophrenia, etc. are all physiological illnesses – and they’ll still tell you to just “get over it.” Get real. Your mental health is equally as important as i.e your cardiovascular health. Be educated. Be kind and understanding. Think before you speak. Reach out. You can be saving a life just by being an open-minded and kind person.12651241_10156543597845457_5977017614954725656_n

Standing Out

“You’re unique – just like everyone else”


Almost all of my fellow first year nursing students that I have encountered thus far have said that they want to pursue a career in pediatrics (myself included). Sure, I expect that opinions will change over course of the next three years, but as it stands now, I foresee a high demand for the line of work that does not have the greatest supply. Since coming to university and hearing that most people have the same end goal as I do, I’ve only become more motivated to stand out from the rest in both anticipation of the real world and in hopes to prepare myself (both personally and professionally) for what I am sure that I will one day encounter as a nurse. At this point in time, I’ve really only touched the tip of the professional iceberg with some retail experience, a whole lotta babysitting and as much volunteering as I can handle. As I see it, it’s never too early to start building up your resume or branching out to make contacts in preparation for the real world, and so over the past few years I’ve been trying to do just that.

 

The other day, one of my fellow students and I were talking about what we envision for ourselves after graduation. I told her that I hoped that my volunteer experience in the health care field would help me to get to where I want to be in my career one day (if not for the experience just being listed on my resume, but for the skills that it will help me to develop) but she thought otherwise. In fact, this person told me that she purposely hasn’t spent any time volunteering or trying to get work in the nursing or health care field because she thought that the nursing degree which we will all graduate with in the end will be enough of a qualification to land a job. At first I thought she was joking, then I realized that I couldn’t disagree more. Yes, we all graduate with the exact same thing and if we’re all going to be going for any jobs at all then going above and beyond is the best (and only) way to stand out. No one’s going to hand you a job – in any field – and getting the degree is only one piece of the puzzle.

 

A nursing degree does not make a nurse, and it’s up to us to go above and beyond to foster the most personal and professional growth we can in ourselves – for any profession. I don’t see the sense in adopting the “least possible amount of work” attitude throughout university to try and scrape by and hope that a piece of paper and a few letters after your name will do the talking for you. Even if a bachelor of anything was enough to find a job in the real world, why would anyone want to limit their learning to that? I’d like to think that we’re all pursuing something that we’re passionate about but I know that’s not the case for all. I hope that this person smartens up soon enough to realize that when other people raise the bar by doing everything that they can to become the best that they can be, striving for the bare minimum just isn’t going to cut it!

Third World Canada

 

In class yesterday, we watched a documentary titled ‘Third World Canada’. It looked at the Northern Ontario community of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (the people of the lake). Heavily restricted by Reserve and Treaty laws, the community faces great impoverishment.

The film centred around the suicide of three adults, who combined left behind 8 children (their father killed himself first, then their mother and stepfather took their lives a few years later). Throughout the film, we see members of the community struggle to care for these children due to the living conditions they face. The Children’s Aid workers for this community, who cover the largest area geographically of any CAS in the country, attempt to find foster care for these children. The problem: a waiting list. There are many other abandoned and vulnerable children seeking a home.

I was reminded of how easy it is for me to forget about issues like this, even when they’re happening right around me. The film reminded me of how easy it is to get caught up in daily life. During the interviews, the police, family, and Band council took personal responsibility for the suicides. Also, those that were caring for the children following their parents’ death were stretched thin just trying to get them food.

The responsibility falls, in part, on the Canadian government. Of the 200 people seeking housing in this community, a Band councilor reported that only two or three government-subsidized homes were built every year. The community is desperately poor, in part, because the Canadian government does not let them use their land’s natural resources.

The caregivers are scrambling to get the children food, and in the process are being distracted from the major issue. The major issue is: what is going to happen to these children long-term? Just as I got myself caught up in daily living – assignments, work, etc. – so did the caregivers focus solely on the present instead of the future.

One of the interviewees in the film, a CAS worker, makes a great point. He spoke about how social justice and positive change can happen. It doesn’t come from nowhere, it comes from individuals taking the time and effort to fight for what they believe in. Self-efficacy is a powerful thing, and there is power in activism and advocacy.

The question is: what issues concern you the most? What are you fighting to change?

Update on HIV Non-Disclosure

http://www.halco.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/clhe_cropped.jpgIn a previous post, I mentioned three issues surrounding HIV/AIDS that I strongly believe in advocating for. I’d like to provide more information on one of them: the legal issues around HIV/AIDS non-disclosure.

Non-disclosure refers to an instance where an HIV-positive person did not disclose his/her status before engaging in sexual activity that poses a “significant risk of HIV transmission” to their partner. This language was determined by the Supreme Court of Canada in a 1998 ruling.

14 years later, Canadian law has still not specified what constitutes a legally “significant risk of HIV transmission”. In those 14 years, there have been 130 criminal cases where the defendent has faced accusations of non-disclosure. Of those 130 cases, 65 convictions were made and 55 people were sentenced to prison terms. Their official charge? This varies widely from Criminal Negligence causing Bodily Harm to Aggravated Sexual Assault. The latter charge is only one below Statutory Rape, and carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and registration as a sex offender.

So, what constitutes a significant risk? Up until now, this question has been left to judges and juries to interpret on their own. Such freedom of interpretation is rare in Canadian law, and poses problems around due process and the idea of a fair and just legal system.

Scientifically, the so-called ‘highest risk’ activities (those that are most likely to transmit HIV) are unprotected intercourse. Yet a 2009 study found that the liklihood of female-to-male transmission was 0.04% per act and that the liklihood of male-to-female transmission was 0.08% per act. Both of these figures are well below 1 in every 1000 cases.

To put this in perspective for you, the Swine Flu outbreak in 2009 carried a much higher transmission risk. For every individual that contracted Swine Flu, they put 1.5 individuals at risk of transmission. There are obviously notable differences between an airborne flu and a chronic virus, but in terms of criminal intent to transmit – what’s the difference?

It seems that, for lawmakers, the difference is HIV-related stigma. Aversion and avoidance has led to a legal gray area, and there has been a dramatic rise in HIV non-disclosure cases since 2004.

How should Public Health and Canadian Law respond to this? I can’t say specifically, I’m no medical expert. However, I can say that there is definitely a need for close consultation between policy makers, lawyers, doctors, and social workers to determine specific prosecutorial guidelines around HIV non-disclosure.

How can you advocate for changes on this issue? The first step is to get informed.HALCO and The Canadian AIDS Society provide much more information on this issue than I have here.

From there, it’s about using your voice. Whether you email your MP, post about the issue on Facebook, or simply talk with others, you’re working positively towards building awareness of this issue and prioritizing it for our politicians to act on.

Sugar Shock Part 1

Are you sweet on sugar? If you are like me, I tend to think of myself as a SUGAR ADDICT!!! I love the taste of the white stuff; so sweet and gives you that sugar “high”. Cookies, brownies, ice cream and decadent chocolates are my favourite foods to eat and all are injected with sugar as one of the top ingredients.

What exactly is sugar? It is a class of carbohydrate and the main types are sucrose, lactose and fructose. Refined sugar, common table sugar, is usually sucrose and it is processed from sugar cane or sugar beets. Sugar is added to numerous foods and beverages. According to the Sugar Knowledge International Limited, the world’s leading independent sugar technology organization, global food production is over 120 million tons a year, 70 of which come from sugar cane!1 In Canada, sugar is a basic and essential ingredient in the food supply, producing over 1.3 million tones of refined sugar annually.2 A study published last year found that more than half of all food products that were targeted to toddlers and babies in grocery stores in Canada, have too many calories coming from sugar.3 Just one gram of sugar contains 4 calories. Added sugars contribute zero nutrients, but they contribute many additional calories, which can lead to gaining extra weight thereby potentially increasing your risk of developing health conditions such as cardiovascular disease. Just one 12- ounce can (355mL) of pop contains 8 teaspoons of sugar! It does however, give you a shot burst of energy but the energy that it does produce only last a short while. Ever notice how after you eat something sweet you end up with a short burst of energy, but soon afterwards, you may crave more food and drinks?

Added sugars are found in many processed foods, especially those that are high in fat and calories. However, sometimes you may find them in surprising places, like breakfast cereals and yogurt. This is why it is important to read food labels. Look carefully at the list of ingredients for added sugars, which may be included under several names, many ending with the letters “ose”, such as sucrose, maltose, etc., as well as high fructose corn syrup, molasses, cane sugar, corn sweetener, raw sugar, syrup, honey, or fruit juice concentrates. When you have become used to checking ingredients, you will be better prepared to cut down your added sugar intake.

During an experiment conducted at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and at Emory University, 6,100 adults were grouped by different levels of intake of added sugars that consisted of brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, table sugar and other sweet syrups, including honey and molasses. Results published in 2010 in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that people who consumed more sugar had higher chances of increased levels of blood fats, or triglycerides, and lower levels of good cholesterol.4

Remember – white table sugar and other sugars added to foods will contribute extra calories to your diet, but have no nutritional value on their own. Foods that are high in sugar are often also high in fat and calories. Over the long run, to better maintain a healthy weight and to prevent chronic disease, you are better off choosing foods that have naturally occurring sugar such as fruits, milk and vegetables.

Sources:

1. Sugar Knowledge International Limited. http://www.sucrose.com/home.html

2. Canadian Sugar Industry. http://www.sugar.ca/english/canadiansugarindustry/sugarmarket.cfm

3. J Public Health (2011) 33 (1): 63-70.

4. JAMA (2010) 303(15):1490-1497.

Photo Source:

http://www.sugarstacks.com/img/colas.jpg

KONY 2012

KONY 2012 from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo.

Joseph Kony is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the Ugandan military force that has captured and enslaved over 30,000 children. These children have then been deployed as child soldiers, and forced to carry out terrible, inhumane actions.

I blogged previously about the situation in Uganda and some of the front-line work being done. Now, the US-based organization Invisible Children has launched a campaign to bring Joseph Kony to justice. This campaign is realistic, but is also dependent on the help of average citizens.

Watch the video above. Whether you share the video on Facebook, sign the petition, and/or send George Clooney or Stephen Harper an email, you’ll be making a positive, substantial difference in the future of Central Africa’s children and the future of policy-making and activism in the world to come.

KONY 2012 Website

My Favourite Courses

http://www.nhlabreakaway.net/_content/courses-ryerson.jpgWith Course Intentions coming up, I figured I’d look back on my undergraduate career and highlight the electives that I got the most out of. While my compulsory courses in Social Work have all been high-quality, I will leave those out of this post – as you can’t choose whether or not to take them.

If you do take a course I’ve talked about in this post, keep in mind that course structures change frequently. My experience in a course I took three years ago might be very different from how the course if offered now.

ENG 112 – Zap, Pow, Bang: Pop Lit (Table A – Lower Level Liberal Studies)

Lower Level Liberal Studies courses provide an excellent opportunity to move out of your comfort zone and take an introductory course in a wide variety of fields. If there’s a subject you’ve always been interested in, but have never explored further, taking a Lower Level Liberal can be a great way to test the waters.

I’d enjoyed English during High School, but didn’t like that we’d mainly only studied classics (Romeo and Juliet, Heart of Darkness, etc.) ENG 112 was perfect for me, in that it offered up current and relevant literature for study.

The structure of the course when I took it was pretty standard (participation, presentation, essay, final exam), it was really the reading materials and class discussion that I loved. I’m told the readings change very frequently for this course, but it’s definitely worth looking into.

POL 601 – Contemporary Mass Movements (Table B – Upper Level Liberal Studies)

Speaking about High School again, I tended to learn a lot about historic movements (ex. The French Revolution), but not about what was currently going on in our world today.

POL 601 presented me with a wide variety of diverse and fascinating movements that were current at the time I took the course. Back then, the focus was on anti-globalization and South American sustainability movements. Now, I can hazard a guess that the focus would be on the Arab Spring and the Occupy movements.

I had the pleasure of having the incomparable Judy Rebick teach me this course, but feel it would be great no matter who the instructor is. As in Pop Lit, there’s a huge emphasis placed on in-class discussions and student presentations.

INT 900 – Program Planning & Evaluation Strategies (Table I – Professionally Related)

Interdisciplinary courses are fascinating, if only for the diverse range of experiences and opinions of your classmates. I find that INT courses also tend to provide assignments that are challenging yet rewarding.

I’m presently halfway through INT 900 right now, and I can already tell that I’m going to be using the skills I’ve learned in this course for years to come.

If you’re thinking about entering the Public Health or Social Service sectors, this course provides you with assignments that are mock-ups of the work you’ll really be doing once you graduate. From Community Assessments to Program Plan Proposals, I’ve already applied what I’ve learned in this course to my practicum. While university is a great environment to learn about theory and ways of thinking, it’s great to be able to come away with practical skills as well.

Feel free to share some of your favourite courses, and why you loved them!

Down With Webster

Whenever I post about a political topic, I try my best to keep my own ideology at bay. After all, politicians are only human – they will undoubtably make decisions that are both loved and hated by the diverse populations they serve.

However, in reporting on the City of Toronto’sdecision to fire Gary Webster, I find it rhetoric to say “some may see Ford’s decisionas a positive one”. Let me explain why:

Webster was (up until Tuesday, Feb. 21), the chief general manager for the TTC. An executive in a government-funded service, his job is dependent on maintaining the support of Toronto’s mayor and City Council.

Last week, Webster was asked to weigh in on the topic of whether the City of Toronto and TTC should spend $8.4 billion of the Ontario government’s money on light-rail transit (LRT) or underground subway expansion.

The light-rail transit has been argued for by Rob Ford and his supporters since before he took office. Indeed, one of Ford’s first moves was to axe the Transit City plan developed by the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario during David Miller’s run as mayor.

While Ford’s actions on this matter could be considered ‘under-handed’ (as an example, he actually did not have the authority to axe Transit City), his argument for subways instead of LRT’s has seen some support. Subways last longer, require less maintainence, transport more people, and cause no traffic congestion. LRT’s fall short in all the above categories, but are cheaper to build and maintain. The cost-effectiveness of the LRT’s resonates in a city, province, and country that is facing great defecits and a transportation problem.

There’s valid arguments on both sides, and Webster (who has consulted on transit developments around the world) gave his opinion in favour of LRT’s last week. This comes on the heels of City Council voting for LRT’s and the Province agreeing to that decision. The liklihood of subways being built instead of LRT’s is now an incredibly slim possibility.

But Ford is holding out hope, and he reacted negatively to Webster’s opinion. The news started reporting on the liklihood that Ford would ask his supporters on the TTC Council (of which the majority are Fordians) to table a motion to fire Webster.

Here’s where things get crazy. Webster’s annual salary is roughly $240,000. His contract is up in March 2013 and he’s publicly stated that he’s going to retire in July 2013.

Given Webster’s position, senority, and the fact that firing him at this point would be without ‘just cause’, the City of Toronto would have to offer him severance pay of $500,000+. This means that if we fire him now instead of waiting for his contract will expire, this will cost us at least an additional $260,000.

And that is exactly what the TTC Council decided to do. This is an incredibly polarizing decision for an already polarized mayor. Ousting this official will not change the city and province’s decision to build LRT’s over subways. It will only incite a feeling that if you do not agree with Rob Ford and you work for the City of Toronto, maybe you should consider looking for another job.

March 8th is International Women’s Day

This year, International Womens Day is on March 8th. Last year, I reflected on what it meant to be the mother of a girl and I will share with you a small snippet from that post.

“As a mother I have spent a lot of time thinking about striking the right balance of celebrating the fun stuff about being a girl while fostering the right interests that will hopefully keep her off the one way track to the pink ghetto. Speaking of pink, is it really so bad?”. I then ripped into a diatribe about how evil pink (and especially the marketing of pink) is for girls’ self esteem. After thinking about it for a year, I have realized that pink is not really the problem though. That would be way too easy. Though I still think it’s an ugly colour, it really is just a colour. In fact, it used to be the watered down version of red (which of course represented blood) for little boys. So if the problem is not the colour, it must be what it represents: submission, compliance, softness and compromise. These are not bad characteristics in moderation but they can be very damaging if they are the defining aspects of someone’s personality.

In the past year I have also received a big education in the realities that face women, particularly women who are mothers, through my placement. Suffice it to say that if you don’t have “it all” going for you financially, mothering is a very difficult job. If you can check a box off any of the structural inequities besides being a women (which is the first strike against you), then you really will have a harder time making it work and by this I mean becoming both the woman and the mother that you want to be. I have met women in our perinatal programme this year who live on the street and are pregnant with their fifth child. Despite their belief that they can transform themselves, their chances of keeping their babies are very small. Some of these women laboured away with Children’s Aid worker literally standing outside the delivery room door. I can’t even begin to imagine how painful that is, even to a person who believes as some do, that it is “for the best”.

In another group that I work with, there are women who are new to Canada, some of whom have supportive partners and others who are single moms. Most of them seem happy and connected to their children but when you start talking to them, you realize life is not easy. Some couldn’t consider going to work because there is no hope of them finding childcare. Few of them could imagine asking their husbands to stay home with the kids while they go out to work instead. In fact, when I raised this question in one group, they practically laughed me out of the room.

I have a thick skin and don’t take personal offence but it really bothers me that it is assumed that women will make up the gaps all the time. They will stay home with the kids. They will find a way to stretch the food budget when the price of rice goes through the ceiling. They will take the day off work to stay home with the sick child. They will patch the holes or remodel the garment to make it last until spring. They will go without. They will find something for the kids to do when the library programming is cancelled due to funding constraints. They will keep their mouths shut and not complain. I think many women lose themselves in those gaps they are busy filing and that  makes me really sad. This  year,  Status of Women Canada is drawing attention to women in rural, remote and northern communities. By virtue of their location, they face all the usual challenges but they have fewer services and supports.

Please, find a few minutes (dare I say gap) in your schedule and ask yourself what a woman has done for you lately. Then thank her for it.

 

Status of Women Canada http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/dates/iwd-jif/index-eng.html

The Mothering Skirt http://themotheringskirt.com/

CARE Canada: Towards Self-Sustainability

In The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest have Done so much Ill and so Little Good, economist William Easterly looks at the trillions of dollars invested in the so-called “developing world” by Canada, the US, and Western Europe (along with the IMF, World Bank, etc) and he sees very little in the way of change occurring. Mostly, Easterly sees corruption, culturally insensitive restrictions, and greater debt and poverty than ever before.

I cannot speak for other FCS programs, but in Social Work we speak a lot about how the disastrous effects of colonization are still impacting our world today. This “post-colonial” viewpoint, as it were, expands beyond Canada to include much of what we consider the “Third World”. Just as the problems in Canada are not easily solved, so are the problems in Central and South America, Africa, Eastern Europe, The Middle East, and Southeast Asia similarly complex. At least Canada sports semi-stable governments, compared to the tumult and revolt currently occurring in many parts of our world.

Part of the reason I signed on to this blog was with the intent of highlighting international development (ID) projects that are actually doing good work. Obviously, throwing money at an issue does not solve it. Problems require a lot of thought, planning, and people (though large sums of money help, too…) and there are some great projects out there. Not everything is terrible, and I feel it’s important to recognize that.

With that in mind, let me introduce you to CARE Canada. CARE is invested in all the areas of the world I mentioned above, and is working towards 5 specific goals: a) strengthening self-sustainability; b) providing economic opportunity; c) emergency relief; d) influencing policy developing; and e) fighting discrimination in all forms.

 

 

Lofty goals, to be sure, especially when you spread yourself as wide as CARE has. Furthermore, CARE has audaciously and wonderfully decided to focus in on women and girls. Realizing that women and girls are disproportionately affected by poverty and discrimination, CARE is investing in building a world where half of our population can live and flourish.

There are six concrete programs that CARE is implementing to achieve there goals. Here’s a bit more information on what they do:

1. Climate Change

CARE promotes a way of living that is self-sustainable, building into economic enterprises in the “developing world” that do not tax our already suffering planet. They are also a vehicle for mobilizing local and global community members to advocate for better governance, stricter controls of resources, greater access to basic human needs, and a greater sense of social justice among the decision-makers of a given country. Women are key players in this movement, which challenges the long-held discrimination that have prevented women from accessing information on climate change and participating in the governmental process.

Economic Development

CARE has three ongoing projects within the realm of Economic Development.

The first is Access Africa, which uses donations to provide basic financial services for millions of African people – 70% of which are women. This is not simply money to buy food, it is money to invest with and grow with. The idea is that if Africans have the means to make their own income, they can spearhead the fight to get themselves out of poverty. This project is not only empowering, it’s creating self-sustainable lives and communities on a grand scale.

The second venture is the Literacy and Livelihoods Empowering Adolescents for Development Initiative (LEAD). Based in Koh Kong, this program provides the world’s next generation with literacy and life skills, and practical experience in apprenticeships and internships. It’s a foot in the door for many people, in a part of the world where post-secondary attendance is incredibly low.

The third project is Improved Livelihoods for Vulnerable Afghans. This project focuses exclusively on women, to ensure that the social and economic status of women is greatly improved in Post-Taliban Afghanistan.

Emergency Relief

CARE’s Emergency Relief program has responded to all of the following crises: the Sahel Region Food Crisis, the Philippines Tropical Storm, 2011’s Southeast Asia Floods, 2011’s East Africa Draught Crisis, 2011’s Ivory Coast Political Crisis, 2011’s Japan Earthquake, 2010’s Pakistan Floods, 2010’s Haiti Earthquake, and 2010’s West Africa Food Insecurity. While numerous other organizations have lent a hand during these crises (especially Haiti and Japan), CARE has been integral in providing traumatized people with relief, to restore a sense of normalcy to their lives.

Food Insecurity

CARE recognizes food insecurity as a complex issue, stemming from a) climate change; b) competition for resources; c) nutritional choices; and d) gender disparities. They are addressing these problems individually to lessen the vulnerability of people in areas where meals are a privilege, not a right.

HIV/AIDS

CARE provides education on HIV transmission, trainings on better nutrition for people living with HIV, better access to medicines (the generic ARVs I spoke of in an earlier post are a major point of advocacy), protection for orphans, and business opportunities for people faced with the stigma of HIV/AIDS.

Maternal Health

From offering Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis to providing new mothers with the funds necessary to start their childrens’ lives, CARE is helping women not just while they’re pregnant, but while they’re raising their children as well.

CARE’s official mandate is “Defending Dignity. Fighting Poverty.” Empowerment goes hand-in-hand with lasting societal and political change, and this organization seems to have its focus in all the right areas.

To learn more, go here