And Now

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By: Carolina Damásio, Young Champion of Maternal Health

This blog post was contributed by Carolina Damásio, one of the fifteen Young Champions of Maternal Health chosen by Ashoka and the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth. This is her final post about her experience as a Young Champion, and you can learn more about her, the other Young Champions, and the program here.

While I pack and organize, I think about what my life will be like from now on. I remember the day I received the email saying I was one of the Young Champions of Maternal Health. I had no idea of all the transformations that would occur and continue to happen to me.

The world has become big, and unfortunately so have the problems! I tried to change the reality of maternal health in public hospitals in Brazil, but the reality in other countries around the world has caused me pain. It makes me want to change the situation more and more.

I have met people who believe in change, who make a difference and fight for the same ideals as me. They have given me hope, inspiration, and ideas. I realize that throughout this journey I was never alone. The people I’ve met on this nine-month journey have the same beliefs as me, even though we lead completely different lives and are from completely different cultures!

Working with women in Mali in a culture so different from mine I realized that we all have the same hopes and dreams. I also discovered there are problems in these women’s lives that are unimaginable to me, such as female genital mutilation.

It is so hard to understand why so many women die just because they want to be mothers — something which, I believe in my heart, is so simple and natural! I remember the day I decided to work in the maternal health field. It was when I attended a live birth during my training in medical school. It was a beautiful and important experience. And that made me start my journey that took me, a few years later, to Mali and to the “big world.”

I dedicate all my efforts to the hope that some day, pregnancy is no longer a risk in any country in the world. Thank you Ashoka, Maternal Task Force, and every woman I met during these past nine months!