UBC nursing students have united with a Vernon high school to raise global health awareness.
Nursing students from UBC’s Okanagan campus have partnered with the Students Without Borders Academy (SWBA) program at Kalamalka Secondary to help Grade 11 and 12 students learn about global health issues.
Kalamalka students are planning a trip to Panama to turn knowledge into action, thanks to the UBC students.
But before they head out, the high school students have planned several local fundraisers to help them spread their knowledge in Panama.
SWBA students have organized a Vernon’s Got Talent show for Dec. 7, a formal charity banquet on Nov. 23, and a benefit concert in downtown Vernon Nov. 30. One hundred per cent of proceeds will go directly to SWBA efforts in Panama.
High school teacher Dave Fehr recently welcomed UBC nursing students Amanda Fehr, Ashlyn McAmmond, and Melissa Stoesz into his classroom to teach the SWBA students about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) put forth by the United Nations in 2000. The MDGs are eight international development goals that the United Nations, and at least 23 other international organizations, have agreed to achieve by the year 2015. They include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, reducing child mortality rates, improving maternal health, and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases.
“Including the student nurses in the Students Without Borders Academy classroom sessions provided a new perspective to the Millennium Development Goals,” said Dave Fehr. “The health care lens through which they created their lessons added a real-world heartbeat to a potentially academic process.”
Fehr, McAmmond and Stoesz developed learning modules about the MDGs and engaged with the high school students over 12 weeks to teach them the basics of global poverty, inequity, and inequality.
SWBA students will be applying the classroom lessons to real-life situations during a month-long school trip to Panama this January, where they will take part in development projects, experience Indigenous Panamanian culture, and donate much-needed school supplies to local children.
“Our goal has been to share our knowledge of global health issues with these students so that when they travel to Panama they will be more aware of barriers to equity and equality and better understand ways these barriers can be removed,” said Amanda Fehr. “The SWBA students have welcomed us into their process of organizing large fundraisers. Money raised will go to provide an improved education experience for Panamanian children. It is great to see such young leaders organizing meaningful events for the betterment of others.”