A Long Road

We often talk about the six years the women in Adelante Mujer spend in the Intercultural Medicine program at URACCAN University. These women work hard, often beginning their studies in a language that is not native to them. (Women from the remote areas of Nicaragua often speak Miskito or Rama, or another indigenous language. Those who do, will learn Spanish when they start at the university.) These women, most coming right from secondary school, begin studying physiology, anatomy, and medical vocabulary. They then add special medical areas such as the cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive and respiratory systems.  Finally, they study pharmacology, immunology, alternative medicine, and epidemiology. During all of their years, they spend time practicing their skills and seeing patients. When they are finished with the program, they take the Hippocratic oath.  

But that is not the end. They then spend a year doing an internship. They spend two years of required social service in return for the tuition money they receive from the government. Additionally, during this time, they do research and write a monograph on a specialized medical subject. They must defend their monograph to a professional panel. It is only after all of these steps that the women receive their diploma from URACCAN. They will then receive their MINSA code, similar to a medical license in the US. It is a long road, but the women in our program are becoming excellent doctors.

A graduate of the Adelante Mujer program, Dr. Joselyn poses with her new diploma.

~~~ Karen, November 2022 ~~~

Welcome to Our Newest Students

In late July, the students at URACCAN University started a new semester.  Seven of those students are new members of Adelante Mujer.  All seven are second-year students in the Intercultural Medicine program. They range in age from 17 to 23, and all have hopes to specialize in different areas of medicine, from obstetrics and gynecology to neurosurgery.

                     Yaritza, Nora, Elena, Verónica, Ashly, Adjanny, Shaimara

The women were very grateful to learn of their acceptance into the program. Here is a message from one of the students. “Thank you very much. I can’t find words to thank you for this great support that you gave me. I will always give my best at all times, thank you very much and blessings.”

Welcome to Yaritza, Nora, Elena, Verónica, Ashly, Adjanny, and Shaimara! May God bless you, your studies, and the people you will serve.

~~ Karen, September 2022 ~~

Standing Strong Through the Pandemic

Though in the US the COVID pandemic is starting to take a back seat to other world events, it is still very real and current for many. It not only impacts individuals and communities through illness, but through economic setbacks as well.

Natasha Mudhar, founder of the social impact organization The World We Want, reports that “Women and girls have absorbed the brunt of the crisis, with the pandemic’s economic impact serving as just one example. Across South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, a majority of women work in the informal economy (jobs that are not taxed, monitored or protected by governments), which was the first to be affected by layoffs and pay cuts.” 1 

Additionally, the pandemic has impacted girls’ educational opportunities as well. According to the World Bank, “Girls’ education goes beyond getting girls into school. It is also about ensuring that girls learn and feel safe while in school; have the opportunity to complete all levels of education; acquire the knowledge and skills to compete in the labor market; learn the socio-emotional and life skills necessary to navigate and adapt to a changing world; make decisions about their own lives; and contribute to their communities and the world… But school closures during the pandemic may have put girls at a higher risk of not returning to school, limiting their learning and future opportunities.” 2              

But through it all, the women of Adelante Mujer continue on their journey to making a difference in their world. Graduates continue to treat the sick in remote areas of Nicaragua and add to the nation’s economy. Current students continue their studies and provide medical care to people in their homes, or in clinics and the hospital in Bilwi. Recently, the students have submitted their annual reports on patients they are treating. These reports remind us of the good work Adelante Mujer students do every day.  We share pictures from their reports with you.

1 https://theface.com/life/pandemic-impact-women-girls-developing-countries-lockdown-education-gender-inequality-world-we-want

2 https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/gender/overview)

– Karen, July 2022 – 

What Are You Passionate About?

 Passion is a feeling that tells you: this is the right thing to do. Nothing can stand in my way. 
– Wayne Dyer

Passion is a simple word that holds so much meaning. Passion involves intense emotion and persevering at something no matter what obstacles come your way. The women of Adelante Mujer are women of passion.  

We are currently assessing applicants for the program for next semester. As we read their applications and talk with them during the interview process, we get a strong sense of their passion for becoming a doctor. When asked why she wants to be a doctor, one applicant shared, “My desire to be a doctor arises from the needs of all the inhabitants of my beloved Caribbean coast, for all those people who live in distant communities where there is no good medical care, where doctors who understand, and understand their illnesses from their worldview, are needed. My wish is to reach all of them by providing the help they deserve.”

Another applicant explained that she wanted to specialize in neurosurgery “to serve my population…this specialty does not exist here in Bilwi and I would like to study it myself to be able to attend to those people who need my help.” Finally, during a recent interview, one woman conveyed that she really wanted to “help prevent as well as treat” illness and especially had a passion to help women.  

These women have communicated the difficulty of paying for a university education, taking on jobs during school holidays, raising and selling chicks, the family pooling all their money together, or even going without food, to cover the expenses. But the challenges don’t stop them. They continue to work hard and are applying to our program. Their passion is telling them that this is the right thing to do. We agree, and are happy to support them – with your help!

                               

                   Adjanny                                                                   Shaimara

Doctor and Pediatrician: The Journey

This month I want to share my feelings and tell a story, a story of sacrifice, of learning, of friendship, and life lessons: a story that began 13 years ago. I decided to study medicine to relieve the pain of the most afflicted because medicine is a career in which we are at the service of our neighbor as well as our own advancement and self-improvement. Deep inside my soul had been planted the seed of a vocation for medicine. I did not choose medicine, it chose me. I knew I had all the qualities to be a good doctor.

Continue reading “Doctor and Pediatrician: The Journey”

Reasons to Celebrate

On February 18, Adelante Mujer students took the Hippocratic Oath along with their peers at their URACCAN University promotion ceremony.  Ms. Kathy Levy Wilson, onsite coordinator for Adelante Mujer, spoke at the ceremony, reminding the women that while they have been inspired by others, they are to go on to be an inspiration.  We congratulate Adelante Mujer Doctors Dominga, Nerey, Junieth, Damaris, Slilma, Slilma, Xochilt, and Gloria, and all those who took the oath.

Continue reading “Reasons to Celebrate”

Connecting in a Pandemic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until December 2019, the director(s) of Adelante Mujer would travel to Nicaragua two times each year. While there, they would interview prospective students, meet with current students, and meet with the on-site coordinator. If the timing was right, they would even attend a promotion ceremony. All of these events are great ways to get to know the women in our program. Then COVID hit. 

Pandemic. Unprecedented. Social distancing. PPE. Quarantine. Virtual. New normal. Since early 2020, these words and phrases have taken on new significance. The world has changed. We have changed. Our ways of connecting have changed.  International travel has decreased by 73%, and until recently, in-person meetings were nearly non-existent. 

So how does a small international nonprofit make it work? Through Zoom, of course! Through Zoom meetings, we are able to stay in regular contact with our on-site coordinator. We can discuss the needs of the women, changes at the university, events that impact the people of Nicaragua. We also interview our prospective students over Zoom. The students at URACCAN often don’t have a computer, and some don’t even have phones. But for those determined to find a way to stay in school and who learn about Adelante Mujer, they overcome the barriers.  

Last semester, we interviewed four students, all using their phones. One had to find a spot to interview between her activities. Another had to go to a relative’s house to borrow a phone for the interview. All four interviewed well. We are only waiting for their grades from last semester to determine eligibility. The new semester starts soon, so please pray for Michayska, Jheymi, Josneira, and Arlen. They may be the next Adelante Mujer students! 

~~~ Karen, February 2022 ~~~

 

A Time of Waiting

Advent is a time of expectant waiting for Christians. During that time, we prepare ourselves for the celebration of Christmas, opening our minds and hearts to the coming of Christ. As Pope Francis stated, “Advent invites us to a commitment to vigilance, looking beyond ourselves, expanding our mind and heart in order to open ourselves up to the needs of people, of brothers and sisters, and to the desire for a new world.”  –  Pope Francis, Angelus, 2018

The women in Adelante Mujer are at a time in their lives where they are doing just that. They are looking beyond themselves and expanding their minds as they study their courses. Continue reading “A Time of Waiting”

Choices

Think about the choices you make each day – what to eat, what to wear, how you will spend your time. Oftentimes, you have multiple options. Here in the United States, most of us have choices between wants, not needs. But in countries like Nicaragua, that is often not the case. Young university women are faced with choices such as, “Do I spend money on a taxi to safely get to my destination or do I walk tonight so that I have enough money for a meal?”  

The students in the Adelante Mujer program do not have to make that decision. Our program offers them funding for transportation to the hospital for on-site training and for a meal when they are on campus. Our program helps relieve some Continue reading “Choices”

The Difference You Make

Nicaragua, a land of natural beauty, has a culturally diverse population, with over 400,000 inhabitants identifying themselves as members of an indigenous or ethnic community.  Many of these indigenous peoples live in the Autonomous Regions of the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast.  In this rural area of the country, doctors and hospitals are in short supply, with a patient to doctor ratio of approximately 9,000 to 1.

According to the Pan American Health Organization, “To eliminate health inequities for indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, and members of other ethnic groups, it is essential to promote intercultural approaches. Intercultural health models such as complementary, traditional and integrative medicine (TCIM) contribute to self-determination by promoting self-care, Continue reading “The Difference You Make”