So, why Work the World?

As part of my blog series about my Cambodian elective, I want to talk a little bit about why I chose to go with Work the World.

 

No age requirement: some of the companies I had considered had certain age limits – you had to be under the age of around twenty five, which wasn’t great from my perspective as students come at every age, especially in midwifery. So straight away anywhere with age limits was ruled out, meaning that Work the World was ruled in!

 

The WtW team: I love questions. I love answers even more. And the enquiries team were brilliant at getting back to me quickly and helping me to figure out as many details as I could before I booked. (L, if you’re reading this, thank you!) After I booked, WtW had a student coordinator give me a call to go through all the details of my booking and answer all of my questions.

 

Location, location, location: right back when I started dreaming this whole adventure up, I knew I wanted to go east. I thought about India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, places like that. But for some reason I kept being drawn back to the idea of going to Cambodia. So while I did do a bit of dithering on the website, flicking between different beautiful pictures of all of these WtW locations, I went with my heart and chose Cambodia.

 

Image result for work the world cambodia

 

Price: I’d be lying if I said price didn’t play a big part in my choice. Cambodia was one of the lower priced options on the WtW list. Being a student, a realistic price was probably as important as how much I actually wanted to go to a location.

 

Ethics: this was a pretty major factor. I’m very aware of the “white saviour” complex, and “volun-tourism”. I did not want this trip to just be about my learning and my life experience and my dream. I wanted to make sure that my experience wouldn’t be at the expense of other people. The people are the most important. So, I was really relieved to read that Work the World has a strong ethos when working with their partner hospitals. They pay the hospital for every student they take. They donate equipment regularly, liaising with hospitals every few months to see what they need most. They also buy from and employ locals as much as possible so that money flows back into the communities.

 

These reasons all pointed me towards Work the World as the right team to help me on this journey to my dream. Keep an eye on the blog for my next post about this adventure, or go to our facebook page!

 

The current fundraiser is Laura’s SAVE OR SHAVE  

https://www.gofundme.com/shave-or-save-for-work-the-world&rcid=r01-153027137226-3d88d7ed65584217&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_w

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PINKOUT: I stand with Planned Parenthood

Today, March 29, is a Planned Parenthood day of action called #PinkOut. I actually only realised slightly late in the day (I’m researching and writing in a bit of a panic!) but it’s a great opportunity to talk about some of the reasons that Planned Parenthood is so important for women and men alike.

So let’s start with that. I think there’s an idea out there that Planned Parenthood serves women (primarily women accessing abortion services). Wrong! While 1 in 5 women visit during their lifetime (there was no similar statistic on men), PP offers a huge variety of health services to women and men – 2.5 million per year across the US according to their website.

But what are the services? It’s mainly prevention of unintended pregnancies – hormonal control like the pill or IUDs, condoms, and vasectomies. PP services prevent about 579,000 pregnancies per year. Not to mention all the STI testing and treatment they provide – 4.2 million per year. HIV tests alone account for 650,000 of that number.

And then there’s the health screenings. Planned Parenthood carries out 270,000 Pap tests a year, and 360,000 breast exams. Planned Parenthood does a lot of the work in catching cancer early. As well as this, PP carries out a lot of general health work including cholesterol tests, diabetes screening, administering flu vaccines, helping people to quit smoking, and basic physical exams.

Screenshot 2017-03-29 at 20.01.50

But what about the abortions?

Abortions come to about 3% of Planned Parenthood’s work. That little 3% might be because they do so much for education in sexual and reproductive health, reaching 1.5 million kids and adults every year. That number in particular makes me giddy with happiness. Sexual and reproductive education is SO important, and it’s something I’m passionate about. Once the eighth has been repealed here in Ireland, my activist mode does not turn off. It switches straight to clear, factual, and broad (as in not hetero-normative) education.

So what is this whole #PinkOut craic? Basically, they want the internet pinked out to show the US government that people stand with Planned Parenthood, people need Planned Parenthood, and people are better for Planned Parenthood being in the world (they actually do a lot of global good by being a member of the International Planned Parenthood Foundation, like our own lovely IFPA).

There has been a lot of talk about “defunding” PP over the years, and it’s been a real fear since Trump was elected. However an attempt to do so was blocked quite recently. But the threat to Planned Parenthood remains. Planned Parenthood want Congress to realise that defunding will never happen (75% of Americans oppose defunding), and to hear the big pink message “do not block access to care at Planned Parenthood. Not now. Not ever.” ❀