What's it like to provide aid in a war torn country? Two women who work in conflict zones talk to Kim Chakanetsa about what they feel are the most effective ways to make an impact.
Irish nurse Avril Patterson has spent the past decade working in emergency situations, from Liberia to Afghanistan to Syria, where she spent four years. In 2018 she moved to Yemen to head the International Committee of the Red Cross’s health programme there. She says as a woman there are instances where she has access where men do not.
Rola Hallam is a British-Syrian doctor and founder of CanDo, a social enterprise that allows local humanitarians the opportunity to provide healthcare to countries in need. Working with various Syrian-led NGOs, she played an integral part in building seven hospitals in Syria including the first ever crowdfunded hospital.
L: Rola Hallam (credit TED/Bret Hartman)
R: Avril Patterson (credit ICRC/Pawel Krzysiek)
Startups saving lives
How to turn a healthcare vision into reality - Yassmin Abdel-Magied speaks to two entrepreneurs from Vietnam and Nigeria who spotted an issue in medical care in developing countries and set about trying to solve it.
Nga Tuyet Trang is a Vietnamese entrepreneur who discovered that newborn babies in Vietnam were dying of treatable conditions because of broken medical equipment. At the age of just 25, she founded a company to provide simple, cost-effective devices to maternity units, called the Medical Technology and Transfer Service (MTTS). Through her leadership, the social enterprise has delivered thousands of machines to hospitals around the world, and treated more than a million babies.
Temie Giwa-Tubosun is a Nigerian-American health manager and founder of LifeBank, a business working to improve access to blood transfusions in Nigeria. Her aim is to end the shortage of blood supplies by increasing the efficiency of distribution and by educating people about the importance of blood donation. The idea came about after the birth of her first child, when she found out that many women in developing countries die in childbirth as a result of postpartum haemorrhage. In 2014, Temie was named one of the BBC’s 100 Women.
L: Temie Giwa-Tubosun (Credit: LifeBank)
R: Nga Trang Tuyet (Credit: MTTS)
Is mountain climbing worth the risk?
Mountain climbing is a notoriously high-risk, high-reward activity. Yassmin Abdel-Magied asks two pioneering female climbers who've scaled the world's highest peaks, if the danger and death toll affect women's participation.
Masha Gordon is a Russian explorer who has broken the speed records for the Seven Summits Challenge (climbing the highest peak on each continent) and the Explorer's Grand Slam (the Seven Summits plus reaching the North and South Poles). Masha had a highly successful career in finance and only started climbing in her mid-30s whilst on maternity leave. She is the founder of Grit & Rock, a UK charity which gives teenage girls from deprived backgrounds the opportunity to complete a year-long mountaineering programme.
Samina Baig is the first Pakistani woman to summit Mt Everest, and to complete all Seven Summits. She grew up in a one-room house in her mountain village, where she would often see groups of foreigners coming to climb the surrounding peaks but she never saw any Pakistani women among them. In 2010, aged 19, she decided to change all that and soon had a mountain named after her.
L: Samina Baig - credit Mirza Ali
R: Masha Gordon - credit Eric Larsen
The hugging dentists
Easing the fear of the dentist's chair - getting teeth fixed can be a traumatic experience for vulnerable patients. Kim Chakanetsa meets two women who use innovative methods to restore smiles.
Dr Sharonne Zaks is not your average dentist. In her practice in Melbourne, Australia, she specalises in treating highly anxious patients, many of whom are survivors of sexual assault and trauma. These patients often experience a loss of control when lying back in the dentist's chair. Sharonne aims to open up communication with each patient, and to remove the shame they may feel about the state of their teeth. Sometimes she even uses music and massage to help patients feel more at ease.
Dr Sonia Sonia is an Indian dentist who has dedicated her career to supporting survivors of domestic violence. Based in Brisbane, Australia, Sonia is herself a survivor of domestic abuse, and when she started practising dentistry she recognised the signs of abuse in her patients. Over time, she has helped women escape abusive relationships, and given then confidence to live their own lives. Sonia says her biggest reward is putting the smile back on someone's face.
(Photo: L: Sharonne Zaks. Credit: Sharonne Zaks; (R) Sonia Sonia. Credit: Roshan Vas_Angel Photography)
Jobs for the girls?
Why are so many women not in work? Kim Chakanetsa brings together women from Jordan and South Africa - countries with two of the highest female unemployment rates in the world - to discuss the barriers women face getting into the workplace and how they could be overcome.
Ghadeer Khuffash says that in Jordan, most women graduate not expecting to go into work. It's not just because jobs are scarce, it's also because they and their families aren't comfortable with them being in mixed sex workplaces. Ghadeer aims to provide more economic opportunities for women through her work with the nonprofit Education for Employment.
In South Africa, in the midst of a jobs crisis, female unemployment is even higher than male. Pearl Pillay says that on top of the economic barriers, women are also overlooked, exploited and harassed in their attempts to find work. Pearl runs Youth Lab, a think tank that aims to give young South Africans a say in the policies that affect them, and she believes the whole conversation about jobs should be refocused on aspirations and fair wages.
Image: L: Pearl Pillay (credit Drew Precious) R: Ghadeer Khuffash (credit EFE)