Delegate Spotlight | Health and Humanity: Pakhtana's Passion for Global Health and her Fight to Help Orphans
by Zachary Thomas
“Being able to attend the conference is a great privilege and as an ecstatic humanitarian I will make sure that I am the voice of those who are less fortunate.” shares Pakhtana Hamed, a graduate from the University of California, Davis. Her passion for global health has brought to be one of the delegates for the 7th Annual Millennium Campus Conference.
Pakhtana’s passion for global health has led her to pursue a medical degree so that she “will one day [be able to] give back to the less fortunate by taking part in programs such as Doctors Without Borders and Mercy Projects.” Global health is one of her passions and she feels that it is the root cause of many different problems the global community faces today. “I believe it is very difficult, if not impossible to maintain a daily routine, such as attend work, if an individual's health is at risk. Those living without access to health care can easily become handicapped and no longer provide for their families, thus leaving behind their families who are unable to fend/survive for themselves. Something as simple as fighting an infection, where just the proper antibiotics are needed, can most likely kill someone and if there were healthcare individuals or a health care system that were to be developed, a significant change will be made. In addition, as I become a physician, it is also my goal to become an advocate in nutrition, where I can educate others on the importance of sanitation, proper food handling and proper food intake. I would like to take the time to educate parents and their children on the importance of farming and food intake.”
Yet Pakhtana’s passions are not limited to purely global health. She along with other colleagues started an organization called the Afghan Family & Education Sponsorship Fund (AFESF). “Our goal was to create a spreadsheet of how much it would cost to live in Afghanistan with 4-5 children; from school books, food, clothing, healthcare, transportation etc. Once this was finalized we were to choose a family and sponsor them. We wanted to first make sure the family we chose had children and the children were attending school. Instead of being a charity organization, it was our goal to help sustain the family for their basic needs and at the same time make it a priority their children were acquiring an education. Programs such as these are what will better a society in the long-run. Additionally, recently I have been involved with the Afghan Orphan Relief (AOR), which also has similar goals in which orphans are taken off the streets and put into a home and enrolled into school. AOR and its members is a new organization working towards decreasing the number of orphans in impoverished countries such as Afghanistan (other countries will be included once the organization is able to branch out).”
Afghan Orphan Relief, the organization that Pakhtana has recently become involved in, is also a campaign that is under consideration for the 7th Annual Millennium Campus Conference. "My colleagues and I have worked rigorously to begin this campaign and we are very thrilled to be given the opportunity to present at the Millennium Campus Conference. I visited Afghanistan at the age of 15 and there were multiple aspects of this visit that shocked me. However, the one that stuck with me was the sight of orphaned children begging on the street. My family and I would be walking down the bazaar's in Kabul when children, ages ranging from 6-15, running up to us with their hands held out asking for money. There would be 5-8 of them just surrounding us. During our car ride back we would see children selling cigarettes, or asking if anyone needed their shoes cleaned for 50 cents. I stopped one on our way back and asked them why there weren't at home and they told me they did not have a home and their parents were killed. Many of these children, as shown by statistics from UNICEF, are orphaned and do not have a home or family. They are forced to start their own "business," where they make $2-$4 a day, which they have to use to feed themselves. These children do not attend school since they work all day just to makes those $2-$4. Through the "One Less Orphan" campaign, my colleagues and I would like delegates and speakers attending the 7th Annual Millennium Campus Conference and the United Nations to recognize these children, just acknowledge that there are over 2 million children that are orphaned in Afghanistan alone (Afghanistan Department of Orphanages). The "One Less Orphan" campaign is inclusive of orphans around the globe, and it will works towards decreasing this number. It is of great importance to make sure that we are recognized, as we raise awareness we will gain access to much more resources and funding in order to expand and give back.”
Pakhtana is very excited to be at the United Nations this August. “ I am looking forward to attending the conference and having our campaign launched. If not this year, we always have next year! I am looking forward to meeting like-minded individuals and sharing our thoughts and ideas on global development. Additionally, just being able to attend the conference is a great privilege and as an ecstatic humanitarian I will make sure that I am the voice of those who are less fortunate!”
Pakhtana is just one of the many amazing delegates already registered for the 7th annual Millennium Campus Conference the United Nations from August 11-15th where she, along with others from around the world, will come together to think, connect, and act to challenge the paradigms that perpetuate inequality and to redefine the world around us. Apply at mcc15.org/delegateapplication to join the movement and promote social change!