Jack Petchey Foundation
If you think you can, you can!

University student teaches vital first aid to rural communities in Kenya

In 2016 Daniel Knight received a £280 Individual Grant for Volunteering from the Jack Petchey Foundation, to support him in his volunteer work with First Aid Africa in rural Kenya. Daniel raised the rest of the £1500 needed to take part in the project by running fundraising events at his university and within the local community.

Before Daniel started his volunteer work overseas, he received training from First Aid Africa to become a qualified first aid teacher, with a focus on common ailments in rural sub-Saharan Africa. Once qualified, Daniel was ready to travel to a small town called Ndhiwa in Western Kenya and begin training others.

A lack of basic first aid skills can be attributed to a high number of deaths in East Africa. By providing rural communities, which are generally quite far from a hospital, with first aid workshops, Daniel and his team have the potential to save lives. The lessons their team taught focused on area specific first aid examples such as treating snake bites.

Over the five-week volunteer placement Daniel worked within seven primary schools and trained over 150 children and teachers in basic first aid skills. They visited the same seven schools once a week for four weeks, which included three first aid lessons and one examination. If the children were successful in passing the exam, they were presented with an official certificate, approved by the Kenyan Ministry of Education and the Kenyan Ministry of Health. Injuries kill more people each year than HIV/ AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined, so these emergency first aid skills will undoubtedly have a real impact on the communities that Daniel worked with.

Of course Daniel himself had much to gain from the placement. Looking back on the experience he said, “Volunteering overseas is an eye-opening experience, being embedded within a vastly different culture from what you are used to for an extended period of time teaches you a lot of things - you end up learning just as much about yourself as you do about the world."

He also said that “Having the opportunity to work with Kenyans and Malawians taught me that the presumptions that many people in the UK hold about the Global South are mainly wrong. Whilst these countries may lack the economic power of Europe, the people in them aren’t living a life of constant suffering, they simply have different struggles to us.”

“Spending five weeks in Kenya was an amazing experience that I won’t easily forget and it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the Jack Petchey Foundation. Thank you so much for your kind support.”

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