Hawa Abdi was a Somali human rights activist and medical doctor. In 1983 she opened the Rural Health Development organization, which offered free obstetrician services to women. This later evolved into a 400-bed hospital, a school for 700 children, and a sustainable farm. Abdi was also the Founder and chairperson of the Dr. Hawa Abdi Foundation, a non-profit organization providing health care, education and aid empowerment for the women of Somalia. Clink the link to find out more about Dr Abdi’s foundation: http://www.dhafoundation.org/about-us/
Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first African American woman to become a Doctor of Medicine in the United States. Crumpler was subject to racism and sexism throughout her life, especially when studying medicine, but she managed to overcome adversity and establish a career helping others. She first practised medicine in Boston, helping underprivileged women and then going on to work for the Freedmen’s Bureau, providing medical care to freed slaves. In 1883 Crumpler also published ‘A Book of Medical Discourses’ focusing specifically on the health of women and children. Make sure to read her impresive biography here at Changing the Face of Medicine https://cfmedicine.nlm.nih.gov/physicians/biography_73.html
US born, Molly Melching has worked across East and West Africa to empower communities to support sustainable development, specifically with women’s rights. She is the founder of Tostan, an NGO with a focus on trying to abandon female genital mutilation as well as child and forced marriage. She writes about a significant moment in her life, when her young daughter asked her if she was going to be ‘cut’ like her friends. This inspired her to promote change and better human rights for women and girls. Melching also attributes her work to listening and following the women’s wishes in the communities that she works for. Watch Molly Melching’s interview on her journey tyring to help people in Senegal:
Yaojie is a Chinease Gynaecologist and Aids activist. The UN has honoured her for her work contributing to the Aids epidemic in the 1990s. Gao visited over 100 villages in the Henan province doing AIDS prevention work and treating people afflicted. In 2001, Gao was awarded the Jonathan Mann Award for Health and Human Rights. However, later in 2007, she was put under house arrest and unable to travel due to her AIDS activism. Despite these limitations, Gao still spoke up and we can read about her achievements in Hilary and Chelsea Clinton’s, ‘ The Book of Gutsy Women’.