Mondays Made Worth It: Guest Post from Kenya

This is a guest post by Sarah Mwangi, the Kenyan coordinator at one of our Medical Partners, African Mission Healthcare Foundation. Sarah is responsible for identifying patients at AMHF’s hospitals and walking them through the Watsi process. She’s made it possible for more than 240 people in Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia to access medical care funded by Watsi donors.

It’s Monday Morning. Yeah. Those Monday mornings that need all the will in the world just to open your eyes, drag yourself out of bed, get showered and dressed. Then off to work.

Yeah. Work. Where is that holiday when you need it?! Leaders at the ICC, internal politics, terrorist attacks…Yeah, I definitely need a holiday.

I grab my mug of coffee and head out, still trying to convince myself that there are tons of reasons to be cheerful this Monday morning.

Monday. My most challenging day of the week. And yet somehow, God still manages to surprise me.

When I get to my desk, I decide to finish some filing then start going through profiles from our different partners to hand in to Watsi.

Then, Monday instantly changes for me.

“My wish is to one day go to school and later on work in an office as an accountant. I know I can do more with my hands.”

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I look at the picture of the girl who said this to our Watsi representative in Tanzania. She is only 12 years old. Abandoned by her parents when she was only 9 and now under the care of her grandmother.

My eyes tear. I read the sentence about her wishes and her dreams over and over. It doesn’t help though because the tears now can’t be stopped. What will my boss say?!

I pretend that there’s something in my eye as I gaze upon her photo. Her smile is so bright. I try to imagine what her childhood was like. How it must feel to be abandoned by her parents, especially in this African context. And now: she has been living with contractures from a burn that make it difficult for her to go to school.

As I type in her story to submit to Watsi, I think of all the people who make sacrifices, when they get onto the Watsi website, just to help people like Agness. I wonder if they know just how much they are making a difference in peoples’ lives; if they know that every penny they contribute reaches these beautiful people.

In the midst of reading stories like Agness’, wiping my tears and typing away, I forget that it’s Monday. I forget how slow Mondays can be; how mundane; how insane. Somehow my Monday is made worth it.

Agness, the patient in this post, was fully funded on Watsi in less than 24 hours.

Patient Privacy

Our approach to patient privacy is simple, we treat every patient how we would like to be treated.

Because we rely on our Medical Partners to submit patient information, we spend a lot of time working with them to ensure patients’ rights are protected in the following three categories:

Information

  • We believe Watsi patients should own their own information. Everything from the content they share on Watsi, to their photo, to the ability to remove their profile at any time is controlled by them.

Understanding

  • Because most Watsi patients aren’t computer literate, we rely on our Medical Partners to upload information on their behalf. We work with our Medical Partners to ensure that they explain Watsi to every patient in a way that makes sense given their local context. Additionally, every patient must sign a clear waiver in their local language affirming their understanding of the program before we accept their profile.

Choice

  • It is incredibly important to us that every patient decide for themselves whether or not they want to participate in the Watsi program. For patients who wish to remain anonymous, we offer alternative sources of funding via our Universal Fund. This ensures that no patient is ever forced to decide between receiving medical care and sharing their story with the world.

Like most things at Watsi, our privacy policies are a work in progress, and we will continue to update them based on feedback from our patients and Medical Partners. And as always, we’d love your input as well.

We’re looking for an awesome volunteer to join us in SF!

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We’re looking for a talented writer and tech-savvy operations person to join our team for a one-month, project-based volunteer role (with potential for extension into a longer-term position) in our San Francisco office.

You’ll jump straight into the heart and soul of Watsi: patient treatment and update stories. This will be a one-month intensive on processing a recent influx of patient profiles and updates, curating them, and sharing them with donors using our internal system.

This is a volunteer gig, but we’ll gladly provide a killer reference, shower you with great karma, and potentially extend your position (if you’re interested) for a job well done.

Interested?

Shoot an email to hello@watsi.org with:

  • A little about yourself
  • Your resume
  • Your five most relevant skills/pieces of experience

And we’ll get back to you ASAP.

We look forward to meeting you!

Meet Thomas!

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Thomas is Watsi’s lead engineer. He’s worked at New Relic, Pivotal Labs and on Pivotal Tracker in the past, always as a hybrid engineer, designer, and product manager. Thomas is all about making things that work well by understanding people and where they come from. He attended Dartmouth College for two years, as well as the Red Cross Nordic United World College in Norway.

Follow Thomas on Twitter @neodude.

*No mallards were harmed in the making of this photo.

Watch Watsi on BBC news!

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We were featured on BBC news this week! Watch the video.

Friday5 participants chip in $5 each to fund Zablon’s medical care

Friday5 is a startup helping people skip to the best part of giving to charity - finding out what great stuff their money did!

Each week, Friday5 participants contribute $5 each to fund a great cause. This week, they’ve put together $1,000 to fully fund medical care for Zablon (above), a four-year-old boy from kenya who needs surgery to walk again.

Thanks for spreading the health, Friday5!

Sometimes we receive a patient update so amazing we can’t help but share.

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Pedro (featured above) lost his right arm in a fireworks accident when he was nine years old. Overnight, things like eating, getting dressed, and writing became a struggle.

A month after Watsi donors funded Pedro’s prosthetic arm, we received the above photo from the medical partners in Guatemala that provided his care, Wuqu’ Kawoq and Bump, showing Pedro’s mom admiring his new-found writing ability.

This update had our entire team crowded around a monitor smiling in awe of the Watsi community. Thank you for helping to rewrite the future for patients like Pedro.

EA donates proceeds of massive Humble Bundle to Watsi

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Humble Bundle (one of our favorite companies) lets people pay what they want for bundles of video games and divide their payment between game developers, charities, and Humble Bundle however they see fit.

Today, Humble Bundle is launching a massive bundle with EA Games, and they’ve chosen Watsi as one of the charity beneficiaries.

As if that weren’t cool enough, EA is forfeiting its portion of the proceeds and donating 100% of its profits to charity.

Love great video games and want to do some good for Watsi patients? Get in on the Humble Origin Bundle while it lasts and choose us as your charity beneficiary!

Listen to Watsi on NPR!

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Did you miss us on NPR? Listen to Chase interviewed on Here and Now.

Meet Netta!

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Netta leads design at Watsi. Before joining the team, she held roles at companies like Rdio, Square, Modcloth, and many moons ago, MySpace. She’s been making things for as long as she can remember, and today, is vehement about creating delightful user experiences. Netta holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Communications and Marketing from Westwood College in Los Angeles, which she acquired a year earlier than planned.  

Follow Netta on Twitter @nettatheninja and check out her portfolio at nettamarshall.com.