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All the way from S Africa to teach India about safe motherhood

Aditi Wagh, DNA   |  May 28, 2011, 04:57AM IST

Ahmedabad: Rarely do we come across youngsters who are both willing and courageous to dedicate their lives in the service of society. Meet Hellen Mammeja Kotlolo, a 27-year-old nurse and midwife from South Africa, who is one such youngster who spent nine months educating Indian women about maternal health.
 
Kotlolo, who participated in Ashoka young championship of maternal health, was chosen as one of the 15 international champions who got an opportunity to represent their country on an international platform. The championship was organised jointly by Ashoka, a community comprising 2,500 entrepreneurs globally, and Maternal Health Task Force at Engender Health.


The champions were selected on basis of their ideas to bring about social change in the field of maternal health. They were each then provided with mentors for internship of nine months. Indu Capoor, founder and director of Centre for Health Education, Training and Nutrition (Chetna), an NGO in Ahmedabad, was Kotlolo's mentor. During her internship, Kotlolo worked on educating women on 'Birth Preparedness and Complication Readiness'.


Talking about her experience, Kotlolo said, "I did my internship across Gujarat and Jodhpur in Rajasthan. Although, I was accompanied by translators, language proved to be a barrier while attempting to bond with women of rural and urban poor areas. However, they eventually opened up."


Kotlolo added that her vision is to do something for women who die during child birth and infants who die due to HIV.

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