Two students work towards peace

Posted: April 1, 2013

Two Denison University students have just been awarded a Davis Projects for Peace grant to work with women who have developed a medical condition called fistula. Abdi Ali, a senior from Boston, and Shiyu “Amy” Huang from Chongqing, China, will use the $10,000 award to work with these women in rural Ethiopia this summer.

Fistula, an opening between the reproductive organs and excretory systems, results from labor complications during pregnancy. After developing fistula, women leak fluids that they cannot control. As a result their husbands may divorce them, their families may disown them, and they may be ostracized by their own communities.

This June, Ali and Huang will travel to Ethiopia to create healthcare educational programs for women and young girls in Dabola Village. They have four goals; first, to open a small community health center; second, to collaborate with medical professionals in Addis Abada, the capital of Ethiopia, to offer workshops to train midwives and educate women on maternal health at the center in Dabola; third, to connect women who suffer from fistula with medical help for treatment; and fourth, to offer them a small sum to help them support themselves and in so doing, regain hope.

Ali grew up in Ethiopia before coming to the United States in 2006. He currently works for Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston as an intern with a patient care quality improvement team. Huang has volunteered to work with economic and social development in rural communities. Her interest is in the field of health communication, and she will film the project.

Davis Projects for Peace, now in its sixth year, honors philanthropist Kathryn Wasserman Davis, who launched the initiative on the occasion of her 100th birthday in 2007. The program encourages and supports undergraduates to create and implement their grassroots ideas for building peace throughout the world. Denison is one of more than 90 schools eligible for these awards as a Davis United World College Scholars Program participant institution.

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