Accomplishments of GEMS
GOATS: In February of 2017, we gave out our 10,000th “she goat.” “She goats” produce 1 (one) and 1/2 liters of milk a day, giving nutrition to hungry children and their families. Groups of families can then begin their own dairy and make cheese and other sustainable products. We have collected money for more than 10,000 goats as of this writing and will continue to give out the “she goats”’ as people donate them. In addition to providing milk, “She goats” are not eaten. EDUCATION: GEMS has provided over 20 thumb drives loaded with content from Khan Academy with RACHEL (Remote Area Community Hotspots for Education and Learning) content so that students can learn mathematics and science. These thumb drives contain over 2000 videos, and 100 of the Great Books, selected Wikipedia content, as well as K-12 textbooks and instruction for primary school children to learn programming. Combined with projectors, this makes education standardized and available to students even where teachers have not progressed beyond 8th grades. We also have given two generators so that learning can continue via the thumb drives GEMS has provided funds for the education of four teachers to receive high school education. TEACHER TRAINING: GEMS provided teacher training workshops in the Aweil area. These three workshops on different visits were staffed by educators from Columbia University Graduate School of Education. Ongoing plans are being developed for additional education programs and fundraising opportunities. SUPPORT for ORPHANS: GEMS Development Foundation gives support to two existing programs for orphans due to the civil war and hunger. This has been in the form of money for clothing, school, latrines, and other requested needs MEDICAL: MEDICAL EDUCATION: Began pre-medical education for 12 people at St. George’s University (SGU) in Grenada W.I., under a generous grant from St. George’s University’s Chancellor Charles Modica and his wife Lisa Modica. Presently, medical education continues in Juba, South Sudan for 7 of the students who were not selected for scholarships at SGU. GEMS is providing funding for their education and living expenses. In Grenada, two citizens of South Sudan entered St. Georges University Medical School (SGU) in January 2017. One “Lost Girl”, who is now a citizen of the US, will enter medical school at St. George’s after completion of her MPH degree. One student will enter in January 2018. GEMS Development Foundation supports the families of those in Grenada by giving direct money to provide assistance while the students are in medical school. GEMS will pay for transportation for the three students in Grenada to return to South Sudan for the summer of 2017. POST TRAUMATIC STRESS and HEART MAKING: GEMS volunteer experts taught a form of breathing to the Diane Gooch Heart women to reduce their post traumatic stress and provide a way to make an income while they breathe together as a form of therapy. Forty-two women participate in this program. In addition to the breathing exercises together, they are able to use the beading of hearts (which is also a form of therapy) to provide a way of making money for their families. The Swarovski hearts are sold on the website and in several small stores in the US. This provides a sense of pride in the women that they are able to provide for their families and gives them a real sense of community within this group of survivors. GEMS also provided inexpensive phones for all the Diane Gooch Heart women so they could communicate with each other and remain safe as they were collecting water or walking in their villages. GEMS provided expertise in the breathing technique by sending Dr. Richard Brown and colleagues to teach breathing directly to the Diane Gooch Heart women as well as to the providers of mental health services in Juba. This form of therapy is important in the sustainability of the ongoing program for the women suffering from PTSD. HYGIENE KITS: Days for Girls, Highland Village Chapter President Pam Moore and Board Member Heather Olsen, appreciated the opportunity to travel with GEMS Foundation to distribute postpartum and feminine hygiene kits to girls and women in South Sudan. During the recent trip, they were able to meet with local officials to assess the needs of local communities while also delivering 606 kits to various organizations. While visiting the GEMS PTS program in Wanyjok, they found women carrying kits that had been distributed during a previous trip. When asked about the use of the kits, they began clapping and cheering. We are encouraged that these kits are providing dignity and proving to be a sustainable solution for women during menstruation. We look forward to sending more kits to meet the needs of the South Sudanese school girls as well as training local women in the making and use of these kits. 6 kits: Juba Teaching Hospital 200 kit: Molang Awan Foundation 100 kits:Garang Molang 100 kits: Aweil Academy 100 kits: Aweil Women’s Center 15 kits: female prisoners 45 kits: Heart women (PTS patients) 15 kits: Juba Minister of Health 25 postpartum kits: Juba Teaching Hospital MEDICAL SUPPLIES: GEMS brought two large containers of medical supplies via Med-Wish in Cleveland, Ohio to South Sudan. These were sent via ship and truck. They contained beds as well as suture materials and other essential medical equipment. One container went to Juba Teaching Hospital and one went to the Aweil Health Institute. Among the supplies that were requested and delivered were five teaching “mannequins”. These shipping containers also included many medical books from various disciplines. MEDICAL TEACHING SUPPLIES: We have provided fifteen laptop computers: for medical students, the Aweil Health Sciences Institute, and for two primary schools in the State of Aweil. In addition, we provided speakers for computers, an iPad, stethoscopes, blood pressure monitoring equipment, the latest temperature monitoring devices, as well as small projectors so that content could be shown to entire classrooms. In addition, we have provided two primary schools with larger projectors so that content could be shown to entire classrooms or entire school students. We also have given the pharmacist in Wanyjok a computer so they can track needs and medicines. GEMS has also provided similar equipment to the PA (called a Clinical Officer) in the Psychiatric department at Juba Teaching Hospital; and now two of the psychologists at Juba Teaching Hospital can track and continue their work as well as learning new technologies. MENTALLY ILL PEOPLE ON THE STREET: Beginning in March of 2014, GEMS has paid for mentally ill patients to be taken from the street where they are often seen roaming nude without care. They are given medication, clothes, haircuts, baths and food. This is on-going monthly and has been since March 2014, with medications being provided and tracked. PSYCHIATRIC DAY PROGRAMMING: In collaboration with the Juba Teaching Hospital, GEMS developed a psychiatric day program for the parents in Ward 1. There are plans to send two psychologists from this program to South Shore Mental Health in Quincy, Massachusetts for training during May of 2017. LEARNING TABLETS: Provided more than 120 tablets, with an IT consultant, so they could be loaded with medical school content for medical students and clinical officers at Juba Teaching Hospital. The Curriculum was generously given by St. George’s Medical School and includes St. George’s Physiology, Anatomy, and Pharmacology courses in their entirety as well as relevant sections of Molecular Biology and Immunology. The Vice Chancellor of Juba University awarded course credit for those students who successfully completed Medical Physiology. The plan is to continue with Anatomy and Pharmacology, with additional courses being added yearly, in addition to lectures which are related to USMLE study. The USMLE is the licensing exam given to medical students in the United States. This content won St. George’s University an EVA- Enterprise Video Award — also called an “Outcome Award.” WHEELCHAIRS FOR POLIO SURVIVORS: GEMS provided materials for dozens of completed wheelchairs for post-polio patients, including materials such as soldering equipment so the polio survivors can make their own from bicycles bought at market. This project prevents wheelchairs from being ‘taken off the dock’ and therefore not getting to their intended patients. GEMS also has taught the polio people to make crosses for sale by GEMS on its website, and this funding goes back to the polio patients, along with wood for the crosses. PRESENTED AT THE AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION: At the invitation of the APA, Dr. Atong presented at several sessions at the American Psychiatric Association annual meeting in Atlanta in 2016 about psychiatric needs in South Sudan. Because her information is so important to this group of doctors, she has been invited to again present findings and practices in May 2017 at the annual meeting in San Diego. TAUGHT PHYSIOLOGY In 2015, medical professors, with funding from GEMS, taught physiology to 76 medical students at Juba Medical School, the course being held 5 days per week. TAUGHT SUTURING and POST PARTUM HEMORRHAGE PROCEDURES TO CLINICAL OFFICERS IN 2016 These clinical officers are not physicians, but they do go through a three-year course of study. Dr. Cholene Espinoza, GEMS Medical Director, taught 20 Clinical Officers in their first skills lab in basic suturing and surgical knot tying. She also taught Postpartum Hemorrhage interventions both procedural and medical. Often clinical officers are the ONLY medical personnel in the bush, and they do basic medical care including emergency surgical procedures. PRESENTED AT APGO–Implementation of a Maternal Health Curriculum and Distance-learning Program in South Sudan, an Oral Abstract presentation to the 2016 CREOG and APGO Annual Meeting, “The Big and Not So Easy: Today’s Challenges in Medical Education”, March 2-5, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana. Publication: Manuscript will be submitted for publication Authorship: First Author MENTAL HEALTH CONTENT: In addition to the computers for selected mental health workers, GEMS has given audio and video content from conferences produced in the USA on topics such as addiction, suicide, treatment of schizophrenia, and other topics. LAPAROSCOPIC EQUIPMENT DONATED AND DELIVERED: A complete laparoscope surgery stack was donated and delivered to Dr. Mayen Achiek, who is certified in laparoscopic surgery. Making this will introduce minimally invasive surgery to South Sudan, with its benefits to include superior dialogistic capability as well as shorter recovery times. PUBLISHED “WHY SOUTH SUDAN MATTERS”, a book written by Honorable Garang Awan Malong. The book was distributed to every United Nations Ambassador and will be hand delivered to every member of Congress during 2017. PROVIDED A HIGH-SPEED INTERNET CONNECTION GEMS provided one high-speed connection at the Postgraduate Center at the South Sudan College of Physicians and Surgeons so that lectures and collaborative education could be conducted with the use of video conferencing for one device as well as the computer and projector for classroom participation. PLANNING FOR HOLOCAUST EDUCATION and DOCUMENTATION: GEMS sent Honorable Garang Majak to London to attend “Facing History”, a Holocaust education course so that a Holocaust course could be developed and taught to students in South Sudan, especially in Aweil. Aweil, in the state of Northern Bhar El Ghazal, was in close proximity to the village raids where people were killed and enslaved. It is thought by the US State Department that South Sudan is the largest ethnic genocide since the end of WWII — more than Rwanda and Cambodia combined (between 4 and 4.5 million people killed.) GEMS brought camera equipment to begin filming people for a “virtual Holocaust Museum” during a recent trip to South Sudan. Currently, the plan is to develop a website with stories of people who were abused and taken into slavery. To this end, Minister Garang Awan Malong has begun a series of interviews with survivors. GEMS will translate those interviews and make them available. PRESENTED AT THE GOLD HUMANITARIAN FOUNDATION the “Mirror Intervention Project.” GEMS provided mirrors to oppressed South Sudanese from the North who had never seen a mirror image of themselves, and also provided this intervention for victims of polio. “Mirror Image Intervention: An Assessment of the impact of showing a mirror image of returning South Sudanese Captives has on sense of self as human.” This project study was accepted for round-table discussion and poster presentation at the Gold Humanism Honor Society Biennial 2014 Conference, October 2014, Atlanta, Georgia. The conference theme was “Advancing Humanism in the Age of Technology”. Publication Date: October 2014 — Dr. Cholene Espinoza PRESENTATION AT THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION -POSTER SESSION Title: Examining the Impact of Captivity in Men and Women on the Slaves Returning to South Sudan. Abstract and poster presentation at the American Heart Association Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2014, Scientific Sessions March 2014, by Dr. Rupa Iyengar and Dr. Cholene Espinoza PHOTO EXHIBIT IN CONGRESS: GEMS held a photo exhibit and reception in the Rayburn House Office Building in June of 2015. Two Members of Congress spoke, and it was attended by many Congressional staff members.