By Jennifer Lewis, Laurelhurst Resident
Welcoming in the New Year always makes me realize how lucky I am to have a healthy and happy family. Many people in the world are not so fortunate. Our neighbor, Tory Stine, is working with Project Helping Hands to change that. Tory is a Trauma Nurse Coordinator at Emanuel.
Once a year, with co-leader Michele Cathey-Hamley, Stine takes a medical mission trip with Project Helping Hands to Turkana in NW Kenya. This February will be their third year in Turkana. Her sons Taylor and Christian will be volunteering with them, taking time out of their sophomore year to help those less fortunate. This will be their second trip for each of them, but the first with each other.
The Turkana District is the largest in Kenya. People there belong mainly to the pastoral tribes of the Turkana and Pokot. Drought, tribal fighting and an inflow of refugees from Somalia has further stressed the limited resources of the Turkana people. Malnutrition, high infant mortality, poor hygiene and a lack of education are pervasive. Unfortunately malaria, typhoid, TB, HIV and other diseases indicative of poverty, lack of water, nutrition and sanitation are all too common.
Stine, through Project Helping Hands is working to make life better for the people of Turkana.
“I have been blessed to be able to help support the people of Africa, especially Turkana. Being able to form relationships and connect with these beautiful people this past year has not only created the groundwork for our future aid and relief, but also nourished my passion for serving those who are less privileged. I believe we will make an immense difference with our involvement in the lives of these communities,” she says.
Beyond treating illness, disease, trauma and providing care, Stine’s team works to educate locals and village health care providers with the goal for them to become self-sufficient.
In Turkana, she works to augment existing community health programs by educating community health workers (CHW) and the population regarding health maintenance. They provide immunizations, treat and refer those not already connected to CHWs and help people with treatment or referrals for HIB, TB, peri-natal and children’s health, river blindness and cataract surgery. To see the work Stine and her team does in Turkana, a video was taken in 2013. www.studiokate.us/project-helping-hands
For more information, see www.projecthelpinghands.org. The group is a non-affiliated, not-for-profit organization whose volunteers provide medical and health education in developing nations.