A Personal Reflection from Canadian volunteer, Michelle Sankar.
Michelle graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2006 with a BSc in biological science and from there she went on to work in the pharmaceutical industry for several years. She then completed her Masters of Public Health degree at the University of Queensland in Brisbane in 2016 where she specialised in public health nutrition.
Personal reflection -
I learned a lot during my 6.5 weeks with VSHC. One of the biggest of all lessons I learned was the ability to become more fluid in terms of scheduling and plans, and adapting to working with limited resources. I also learned that the smallest form of intervention can go a long way. It was extremely satisfying seeing patients in the health centre who have put the effort in to reduce their blood pressure, weight and blood glucose levels based on intervention by the health centre staff and volunteers. In addition to seeing this success in the health centre, attending workshops with the Collective Community Outreach of Health and Social Issues (CCOHSI) Project Team was rewarding. I literally got to see the fruits of their labour in some of the beautiful backyard gardens they empowered communities to establish. In some of the outreach workshops I attended, I was impressed by the level of conversation surrounding topics, such as sexual and reproductive health, which are still deemed somewhat taboo in conservative developing countries like Fiji. I feel VSHC is clearly pushing some boundaries to create change.
I wish I could have stayed longer and continued to contribute my time and I hope to return one day in the future. If not, I hope to continue contributing to VSHC in other ways from abroad.
Veronica, Michelle and Sarah on School outreach visits.
VSHC Volunteers Michelle and Veronica holding placards and march participants on International Women's Day.
Michelle leaving Fiji.