Educators of the Month – Uzima Association (Burundi, Africa)

0
41


Training Doctors in Burundi with the Know Your Lemons campaign

This month we are featuring the doctors of the Uzima Association, our charity partner in Burundi Africa, who have been educating women about breast health with the help of Know Your Lemons.

Men & women in Burundi, Africa attending a Know Your Lemons Breast Health Session with Uzima

Men & women in Burundi, Africa attending a Know Your Lemons Breast Health Session with Uzima

Uzima speaking to women about early detection

Uzima speaking to women about early detection

Dr Tania Gahama, co-founder and Program Coordinator at the Uzima Association, explains that the path to teaching about breast health in Burundi began in 2019: 

“We started campaigns for breast cancer awareness in October 2019. One of the challenges we faced was to have adequate images and accurate vocabulary to use while teaching, because everything related to breasts is considered a taboo in our community.

When I saw the image of the twelve signs of breast cancer from Know Your Lemons, I knew immediately that this was what we needed to be able to teach in Burundi. Now we are overcoming taboos about breasts and opening up the conversation with women about breast health for the first time.” 

In October 2020, the Uzima Association approached us to train their doctors in how to better identify the 12 signs of breast cancer and to teach self-exam and other breast health information to women in their local communities. 

A Burundi physician explaining breast cancer risk factors

A Burundi physician explaining breast cancer risk factors

Because of your donations, we have been able to provide them the help they needed to improve early detection for women in Burundi. So far 11 doctors have been trained to be Know Your Lemons Educators, with more to be certified soon. Almost 200 women have been taught through a Know Your Lemons Class on how to identify the signs of breast cancer and look after their breast health. These classes have been made possible with the help of Know Your Lemons teaching kits (a large flip chart) that were also provided by donors.

The partnership between Know Your Lemons Foundation and Uzima Association has allowed us to further develop our African educational materials in Swahili and French, languages which are both used in Burundi. We also adapted our materials to show green lemons instead of yellow to match the local fruit.  

Swahili campaign with green lemons

Swahili campaign with green lemons

French campaign with green lemons

French campaign with green lemons

Dr Gahama explains her experience as a Know Your Lemons Certified Global Educator:

“Know Your Lemons has definitely expanded our impact for breast cancer awareness. It provides us with simple teaching materials which make it possible to use the campaign throughout the year. I have learnt simple ways to teach a big group of people as well as talk about risk factors and the signs of breast cancer to just one or two people. With these new materials, a session doesn’t require a team of educators—one educator can lead a session alone! It makes a big difference in what I can do!

This year for “Pink October” 2021 we are organising sessions in rural or peri-urban [suburban] areas. Many sessions will be held outside in open-air, using the Know Your Lemons flip charts we were given. This would be impossible without these easy-to-use materials! 

In a country where the chances to receive breast cancer treatment are very low and available options are very expensive, our main weapon is to start by raising awareness. As Lao Tzu said, ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’. And our journey to fighting breast cancer begins with raising awareness. Thank you Know Your Lemons for helping us educate on breast cancer in our community!” 

Burundi physicians posing for a photo after their presentation.

Burundi physicians posing for a photo after their presentation.

A group of teachers attending a Know Your Lemons breast health class held by Uzima.

A group of teachers attending a Know Your Lemons breast health class held by Uzima.

This life-saving work in Burundi is being made possible by YOUR donations. Help us make our educational materials and training available to more people by donating here.

Want to become a Know Your Lemons Global Educator yourself? No previous teaching experience or medical knowledge is required! Apply here and join our team of 350+ volunteers worldwide!