Cancer Initiative Conclusions

Yesterday marked my penultimate session in Cancer Initiative, a group I have been working with for the past three years. Ironically, it seemed like yesterday was really the start of true and sustainable IST involvement at the Ujasiri House as well. We had the first meeting in a very long time with a member from Tumaini La Maisha which to me felt like a great introduction for Alqaim, the incoming leader, and a nice way for me to exit.

Reflecting, I am pleased to say that I have contributed the following to Cancer Initiative:

  • Rebooting the weekly visits to Ujasiri House and maintaining planning sessions during school
  • Holding the clothing drive
  • Appreciation

However, I think that there a few of issues that need to be tackled such as:

  • Communication with Tumaini La Maisha
  • Schoolwide involvement and participation
  • Implementation of projects (it seems that we have not done very many projects lately)

Yesterday, in particular, I think that two of these issues were addressed and prepared for improvement. I held a meeting with Beatrice Millinga, the Grant and Social Programme Coordinator, and we discussed possible projects for us to be involved with. My notes are as follows:

  • Scholarships
    • Each scholarship would be for around 600,000tsh and go towards paying for school supplies for students considering attending governtment secondary schools
    • After a conversation today, I thought about perhaps donating old textbooks (Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Math, perhaps Group 3 as well) that are no longer in use because of the changing (especially DP) syllabus
    • A good area to provide donations because it is not supported directly by Tumaini La Maisha
  • Funding for medicine
    • One dose is around 250,000tsh which is mostly funded by Tumaini La Maisha so this is another area where donations could be provided
  • Ujasiri House development
    • Gardening
    • Mural
    • Perhaps this would be a good area to connect with groups such as Jenga or any arts-related TAT groups
  • Arts and crafts activities
    • Bringing in skills to the children
    • Selling handicrafts at the Arts Out Loud Festival — I am going to contact Ms. Patel to set up a stall where the kids can sell the products that they’ve sewn and whatnot
  • IT
    • The kids do not have funding or access to laptops
    • They are in need of maybe a new DVD player for entertainment
    • We are contacting the IT department for this to see if there is anything that the school doesn’t use anymore but is still operational
  • Welcome Pack
    • The welcome packs for the students include thermoteter, mug, container, toiletries, kanga, hand sanitizer, toys
    • We could organize donation drives for toys and clothing in good repair

Given that this will be my last post before I leave Cancer Initiative, I am posting a few photos of the experience, particularly from the previous session which was fantastic!



Initial thoughts on Cancer Initiative

Last Tuesday marks the first session of Cancer Initiative this year. As seen below, used this meeting to sketch out some plans for this semester as well as to work as a group to meet some of the new requirements for trip approvals. This reflection will simply address challenges that I see for this semester, some goals, and general proposed ideas.

– Limited numbers of students:
Unfortunately, we are working this semester with only 2 students. Although we have sent many messages asking for students to be placed into our group, I don’t think that we are going to receive many students. This simply means that we are going to need to focus work between the three of us and larger projects might be an issue in terms of logistics.
– New systems put in place for trip-oriented CAS groups:
This seems to have been our greatest issue so far. The amount of paperwork is definitely slowing down our ability to travel to Muhimbili however, hopefully, this will all be sorted out as soon as possible in order to work smoothly for the rest of the year.

– Create a stronger partnership with Muhimbili for next year:
I think that as a leader I simply want to ensure that this service group stays active even after I have left IST. For me, this means that I would like my legacy to include a stronger partnership between IST and the hospital so that we end up truly making a difference and using our resources and time wisely to benefit both parties.
– Receive more recognition at IST so that membership is no longer an issue:
For the past year or so, membership has been a consistent problem. I hope that through the proposed projects for this semester, students at IST will recognize Cancer Initiative as a more interesting and fun service group to consider.

Proposed Projects (see picture below):
Because we do not have many members this year, we have proposed to following two projects which would include involvement and collaboration with our service groups at IST to form larger projects.
– Mural at Tumaini la Maisha house
The first idea is being proposed to a number of art service groups at school and will seek to paint a long-term mural at the Tumaini la Maisha house made by the kids alongside artists brought in from IST. The idea here is some art that is made by the kids living there to comfort as opposed to the already lively art that they currently have. This will be proposed to the Muhimbili group as soon as there are willing students at IST.
– Storybook
The second project has been proposed by Alqaim and is the idea of a storybook featuring the stories of the kids staying at the Tumaini la Maisha house. There will be art and interviews in this book and hopefully some will be sold to raise funds for cervical cancer or other endeavours at Muhimbili.



Cancer Initiative Update

Key updates/points of focus during Term 2:

  • Becoming CAS leader
    I can honestly say that I’m quite proud of my status and achievement that I’ve made in the past month or so of being the official leader. I can confidently say that I’ve already had more success compared to my predecessors. So far, from February to March, we travelled 3 times to Muhimbili Hospital to be which the children. Although this does not sound like very much, taking into account the fact that we missed several sessions because of ESP or break, I’m happy that we’re back on track.
  • Welcome Guides for children at Muhimbili
    On one of our days to Muhimbili, I was able to meet with with Jane Kaijage, who leads the Tumaini La Maisha section at the cancer ward. We then discussed what the hospital specifically needed from us and came to the agreement that IST assist them in printing their parents handbooks in both Swahili and English. We’re planning on bringing the printed handbooks tomorrow when we visit. I’m really happy that we’re doing this and I hope that my legacy as a leader can be stronger communication and a focus on what specifically the hospital needs out of this relationship.
  • The status of new members
    This is definitely the greatest obstacle that we’re facing right now. Although I personally enjoy visiting the hospital and can handle the logistics of our projects alone right now, I think that for the children at Muhimbili to benefit we need more help from other students. I’ve reguarly tried to communicate this to Ms. Gillman and Ms. McKeever so from my perspective, that’s all I can really do. I’m going to work harder to contact the students of service groups with excess people who relate to Cancer Initiative.

A Clean Start!

This week we finally began to realize our plan of organizing IST’s first Colour Run!

The first step was taken by our leaders to contact the CCBRT service group and we now have a reserved date as well as route. This was finally put to good use through creating posters today (10/11/15) to advertise the event around school. This was honestly a refreshing activity because I was able to collaborate with people from my group that I don’t usually and actually found myself talking a lot with three girls in 6th grade who I feel like I actually know. I’m really impressed that I’ve gained this kind of a relationship from Take Action Tuesdays. Below are two photos: the first of our poster, the second of Tyra, Freja, and Inès drawing 

I think that the next step is to become sorted with the logistics which I plan on asking our leaders about next session. Despite being quite busy right now with HS Play and THIMUN preparation, I’m really interested in establishing myself more in this class so that I’m prepared to take on a leadership role as mocks begin soon. AtMNe9PL60Q7o8W_r4GpLvejEUgvYOvU--y4zGbGQ1SPAt6TvIZCjtA12EqE4dunKt8aQB_fnQ-JTI6v-4ys17Cn


New Year / Same CAS / New Name

This year I have chosen to work with Muhimbili Hospital’s Cancer Ward and Tumaini la Maisha once more and although it is the same activity a lot of changes have happened giving me new concerns and aspirations for the coming year. The two most major changes would be:

  • Cancer Institute -> Cancer Initiative

The service group has completely changed it’s name and although the general goal and focus remains the same, the way that we’re getting there is completely different. For example, in past years, what we’ve mostly done is gone to Muhimbili and played with the kids, and although this is definitely a gratifying experience, I worry sometimes that we’re not using our resources to the best of our capabilities. Through changing the name to “Cancer Initiative”, we’ve now focusing on raising awareness on cancer itself and campaigning for Muhimbili. I think that this is a great idea but I’m struggling as to picture how exactly we’re going to be successful in this because of certain gaps in our leadership that I noticed in the first few weeks.

  • New group of people

Last year, most of our group was in high school with I think one member being in middle school – and only for the first semester. This year however, the vast majority of members are in grades 6 and 7 which creates a completely different atmosphere and energy. It’s definitely positive when we’re travelling to the hospital and playing with the kids but I worry that some of their suggestions are slightly too naive and it will be difficult to do long term projects with the members constantly rotating. Having the pressure of a new group each semester however, might push us to get more done in the first semester.

Goals for this year

I’m looking forward to taking over the leadership role in Cancer Initiative come January and so I think that my main focus for this semester will be to involve myself as much as possible to understand the connections outside of school that we have. Along with this, I’m going to try to be more proactive about the different activities we bring to Tumaini la Maisha and fundraisers at IST.