Photo: Selkirk Nursing students happily displaying the homemade quilts donated by the local Doukhobor community.
Thanks to abundant community support, the third year Nursing students at Selkirk College have once again travelled to Guatemala as part of their practicum and commitment to learn more about the common roots of health challenges in the north and south.
Nine students, one faculty member and one volunteer left for Guatemala on April 27 for a three week period. While they are in rural and urban areas of the country, the group will be learning about how community development and health are positively linked, how Guatemalan project partners promote health by addressing fundamental social issues such as privatization of heath care services, poverty, inequality and basic human rights violations. They will also be working with these partners to raise awareness of locally identified health concerns of women and their children through interactive workshops aimed at fostering sexual health, dental health and hygiene.
Past trips have been largely funded by local community members and organizations and this one is no different. Nursing student, Danielle Mastard, is very grateful. “The support we have received from our communities is unreal. If it weren’t for them, this would not be possible.”
Community donations have included: hall and kitchen facilities for the Nursing students’ Beans & Rice dinners from the Nelson United Church, the R.C. Churches in Castlegar and Trail and the Miner’s Hall in Rossland, hand-made quilts, sheets, towels and toiletries from the Doukhobor community and Cultural Interpretive Society, toothbrushes from local dentists, funding for scholarships, art supplies and story books from Robson Elementary school, reusable sanitary napkins (sewn by volunteers) from the WIN store in Nelson and hand-made quilts from the Castlegar Quilters’ Guild.
In addition to this, over $20,000 has been raised through financial donations made by individuals and various organizations. “The level of ongoing support within our communities in the West Kootenay speaks to me of a shared commitment to support the integration of the principles of equity and social justice into nursing education and practice. It confirms the core principles of the Code of Ethics by the Canadian Nurses Association upon which nurses base their work with the public,” says Nursing faculty member, Mary Ann Morris. “We are thankful for the opportunity to share this commitment with the citizens and families of Guatemala.”
Select senior baccalaureate Nursing students have been travelling to the Guatemala annually since 2005. Their practices have been delivered in collaboration with Selkirk College’s project partners—the Association of Women in Solidarity, the communities of Sipicapa and San Miguel Ixtahuacan, the Maya-Mam Health Promoters of La Esmeralda and the cooperative of Nuevo Horizonte.
For more information on the Nursing program and the Guatemalan practicum experiences, please visit http://selkirk.ca/programs/hhs/health/nursing/or call 250.365.1383.
First published on April 27, 2010