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York University Students Introduction

Hello and welcome to the first journal entry shared by CPAR's practicum students from York University! We're very excited to introduce you to Sara, Lydia, Aisha and Dior.

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Meet Sara:
Hello, my name is Sara Mesfin and I am in my final year at York University. By May 2021, I will have earned a Honours Bachelor of Science in Global Health, with a specialization in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. The Health Promotion and Disease prevention stream is of particular interest to me because it seeks to empower and enable individuals to make better health choices, while simultaneously acknowledging the social and environmental determinants that may influence their capacity to make these choices. Ultimately, I hope to use this practicum experience as an opportunity to enhance and develop my Global Health skills first-hand. Additionally, I hope to develop a further understanding of how organizations like CPAR plan and implement projects, aimed at capacity strengthening, in different parts of Africa.

Meet Lydia:
Hello everyone! My name is Lydia Dagnachew and I am so excited to be a part of the CPAR team. As a young woman living in Canada with an Ethiopian background, I was always interested in Global Health. For this reason, I pursued a Bachelor of Science in Global Health with a specialization in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. My undergraduate degree has afforded me an interdisciplinary background in international health care systems. I aim to use the knowledge I have gained throughout my studies to bridge the unjust health gap between the global north and global south. In particular, I am very passionate about advocating for women's sexual and reproductive health. With this practicum, I hope to learn more about the socio-cultural determinants of Ethiopia's maternal and sexual health care disparities. Accordingly, I am thrilled to be a part of CPAR's Enhancing Sexual Reproductive Health for Women and Adolescents project in Ethiopia and I hope to create sustainable health promotion learning aid tools to improve the sexual and reproductive health of women and adolescents in Amhara and Oromia. Ultimately, I am looking forward to completing my practicum with CPAR and I aspire to be an Agent of Change for young women and adolescents who deserve health equity.

Meet Aisha:
Hello, my name is Aisha Saleem, and I am in the final year of my Global Health degree at York University. I am delighted to be working with the CPAR staff during my placement. I am passionate about learning more about empowering women with the tools they need to become self-sustainable and better their life circumstances. I was 7 years old when I first witnessed the impact of a Humanitarian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) while travelling to Pakistan. At an international NGO's field office in Karachi, I recall a single mother of 8 daughters speaking to my parents about her life as an illiterate domestic labourer, stating that without the support of this NGO, her daughters would be destined to a life riddled with poverty. From a young age, I observed the inequalities women face that prevent them from breaking out of the cycle of poverty. This stemmed from my interest in exploring careers focused on improving women's health by tackling sociocultural factors such as poverty, gender inequality and discrimination. During my time at CPAR, I wish to learn more about the back end of how an international NGO operates. I am a firm believer in the voluntary pursuit of knowledge and continuous learning of new skills. I aim to be around professionals in the humanitarian aid sector and gain as much knowledge & guidance from them as I can.

Meet Dior:
Hello everyone, my name is Dior Kebbay and I am a fourth year Health Management student at York University.  CPAR has given me the opportunity to complete my Health Management practicum and I hope to successfully apply the knowledge and skills learned throughout my college career at CPAR. Working at CPAR will give me an opportunity to gain hands-on experience while working on projects focused on promoting health, which will prepare me for my future health career. I hope to develop new technical skills and knowledge, build teamwork skills, develop a strong work ethic, and also get great career advice and support from CPAR.