By The COAST Reporter
Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery (MBChB) student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and technology (JKUAT) has bagged the United Kingdom-based Madrinha Trust Mentee Award.
Ms. Alice Shauri, a fifth year Medicine student in the School of Medicine, bagged the 2022 Madrinha Trust Community Contribution Award for her impressive progress and contribution to the community.
Ms. Shauri, the only awardee from Eastern Africa, was recognized for her community work during a virtual ceremony, held Friday, July 1, 2022 where she joined other awardees from Africa and other parts of the world.
The award package includes a certificate and cash prize to encourage, appreciate and advance the good work she is doing in the community.
The Madrinha Trust Awards “are a way for mentors to put forward their mentees for special recognition. These students have gone over and above to achieve personal goals.”
The Trust believes the awards are “a wonderful way to elevate and bring attention to the mentees’ abilities…and provide a point of interest and recognition of their personal and academic goals.”
Reacting to the good news of winning the award, Shauri noted that, “No words can actually describe how I feel. I am inspired. I feel so proud of the job that I am doing. I am happy it has been impactful to the community. I feel proud of being acknowledged for what I do well. The award has motivated, energized and driven me to do more, achieve more and be more. I appreciate everyone who has supported me to contribute to the community.”
Shauri, who hails from one of the marginalized communities in Tana River, has done significant work that has impacted many young people, communities and groups, says, she was pleasantly surprised when she was informed about her nomination for this year’s award.
“I am involved in lots of community charity work because I love doing it and I derive great satisfaction in doing it. I did not expect or even contemplate being rewarded for it, but I thank God that Madrinha Trust recognized it,“ the Medical student observes.
Most of the activities and programmes Ms. Shauri is actively involved in speak directly to the Madrinha Trust’s Community contribution.
“I do volunteer tuition programmes for high school students in my village during holidays, and at the Reproductive and Sexual Health Program for Kenyan Teenagers (RESPEKT Programme), where I do school visits to educate teens on menstrual hygiene, STIs including HIV/AIDS prevention, Prevention of Teen Pregnancies, and all matters of Reproductive Health.
The soft spoken and articulate student further elaborates, “I have done visits to schools around Nairobi, Kiambu and Muranga counties. I am a volunteer at the Tana River Life Foundation.”
Shauri, says, she founded the Shauri Initiative which brings together university students across various institutions who offer mentorship programmes to secondary school students in Tana River County. The objective she explains, “Is to ensure students access appropriate academic and career guidance.”
This, she elaborates, has had a significant impact on the students and youth and “helped in reducing teen pregnancies and school dropouts as well as improved students’ academic performance.”
“I am the Founder and CEO of Tubonge Cancer_KE, an NGO that aims to increase awareness and knowledge about cancer so that patients can have better health-seeking behaviour to achieve early diagnosis and better prognosis,” the medical student explains.
As an author and contributor to a number of research studies which have been published in both local and international medical journals, Shauri says, her participation in these research endeavours is one of her ways of contributing to science and better healthcare system.
In 2016/17, Shauri was the National Officer on Research exchanges at MSAKE (Medical Students Associations of Kenya) and she contributed to local and international medical students’ research exchanges.
What motivates Alice Shauri to contribute to the community? “I come from a marginalized community in Tana River County. While growing up, I have seen the challenges people go through. I am lucky to have benefited from secondary school and university education scholarships. What I am doing currently is an expression of my desire to support the community and be the change and make the world a better place,” Shauri states.
Her focus is on health awareness and education in the short term as she hopes to mobilize and partner with donors to address gaps in education and health sectors amongst underprivileged communities in the country in her noble quest to promote healthy, dignified living among Africans.
Alice Shauri comes from Idsowe Village, Garsen Constituency in Tana River County where she attended her basic education at Idsowe Primary School before proceeding to Kingwede Girls’ High School in Kwale County.
She cites financial constraints and limited time as major challenges in her quest to do more charity work for the community.
The Madrinha Trust was established in 2011 after the founders realized that “many young people were denied the opportunity of tertiary education due to lack of access to funding.”
According to Madrinha website, “Madrinha is Portuguese for godmother. The name was chosen because a good godparent is a mentor, guide, confidante and role model. Madrinha Trust says “one-to-one mentoring maximizes the benefit of education.”
Speaking of mentorship, Ms. Shauri acknowledges the role they played in her journey. “I appreciate my mentors including, Acting Dean, JKUAT School of Medicine, Dr. Justus Simba, Senior Lecturer at JKUAT, Dr Wangari Ndege as well as Dr Meenakshi Nayar Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine, Charing Cross Hospital, London, and all my lecturers for giving me invaluable support and guidance. I feel inspired. When I grow up I want to be like them.”
Asked to share a word of advice with her peers, the student reflectively gazes in the air and says, “Do it, be it. Be the agent of change you want. Together we will make the world a better place. We are all agents for change to a better society for all.”