From Our Scholar Blogs:

SHE-CAN Scholar’s Take the Lead project provides low-income students with health insurance, aims to reduce dropouts – by Christiane Umutoni

SHE-CAN Scholar’s Take the Lead project provides low-income students with health insurance, aims to reduce dropouts – by Christiane Umutoni

​For my Take the Lead project, I chose to pay for the insurance cards of some primary school students that I used to tutor when I was in high school. Many of these students drop out of school because of health issues. When the students get sick, they can’t afford health care which causes them to miss their classes while they stay home recovering. When they go back to school, they find themselves lagging behind in all subjects which causes many of them to drop out of school. I want to break this cycle and prevent students from dropping out due to illness. 
First, I introduced my project to the community service club at my former school because they still tutor primary kids every Saturday. They agreed to work with me on my project because helping those kids gain access to medical care was going to help them stay healthy and therefore study well. I also visited the primary school, which is near my former school, to discuss my project with the school headmaster who oversaw the selection of the 10 kids from poor families whom I was going to give insurance cards. After talking with the community service club and the headmaster, I moved on to different activities such as raising the money needed, paying the insurance and finally giving the insurance cards to the selected kids. 

PictureChristiane’s all smiles with some of the community service club members.

I faced some challenges throughout my project, but I invested everything I could to overcome those challenges and finish my project successfully. Some challenges included raising the money needed for the insurance and figuring out my transportation to and from my former school every time I visited. I overcame these challenges by selling popcorn. My family helped by giving me a small amount of money to buy the corn kernels, and my former school helped me with salt, oil and the materials I used to make the popcorn. I sold the popcorn during one movie night and raised enough money to pay for the insurance cards!

​Another challenge I faced was managing all aspects of my project while simultaneously attending my ACT classes and completing regular practices to prepare myself for the exam. This was challenging because I took the exam before my project was complete. Sometimes my schedule and that of the community service club members conflicted, but I did all that I could to be flexible enough to make my project continue as planned and pass the ACT too – which I did!

PictureBefore Christiane handed out the insurance cards, she visited the students classes where the community service club was teaching.

On June 17, I went to the primary school to officially give the kids their insurance cards. Some of the parents also came to meet me, and they were happy because of my project. I’m glad that everything worked out. I’d like to see these happy faces again in the future and because of that I plan to work on other community service related projects that will make significant impacts in the lives of many people in my community.

I’m thankful to be in this amazing SHE-CAN family, where I’m being transformed into a responsible leader who knows how to come up with solutions to different problems in her community. I look forward to more challenges that will shape me into a strong woman who’s ready to brighten not only her future, but the future of her country!