What Every Woman Deserves: An Interview with Caamo Kane
Posted: Apr 04 2014
The number one question people ask designers is what gives them inspiration. For Cecily, it’s the time when she lived in Senegal and witnessing first hand how Senegalese women dressed on a day to day basis. While there, Cecily worked at the Senegalese American Bilingual School, which is where she met Caamo Kane. Since then, Caamo’s gone on to Medical School and she’s spearheading an amazing campaign to help women during the most sacred moments of their lives. We caught up with Caamo to hear all about it.
SC: Tell us about yourself.
Caamo: I’m 31 years old. My father is Senegalese and my mother is American. I studied Women’s Health at Spelman College for my undergrad degree, then I received my MBA from ISM and I’m currently in Medical School in Senegal. I’m passionate about women's health & wellbeing, preserving the environment, community service, entrepreneurship.
SC: Tell me, in your own words, about the birthing center you’re fundraising for?
Centre de Santé Philippe Maguilene Senghor is a health center located in the low income areas of Dakar. It is a heavily populated area serving approximately 5,000 women a year. The maternity ward is at the heart of the health center. It does not receive state funding, so it is self-sustainable. It has a team of OB/GYNs and a group of residents, which includes medical students.
SC: What inspired you to start this fundraiser?
Caamo: There have been many things that inspired me.
I’ve always been motivated to improve the birthing conditions that low-income women are subjected to. I have done a few on call night shifts at different hospitals since I was eighteen. One night, I witnessed a woman in labor being beaten because she refused to cooperate. Unfortunately, this is a common practice for women to be mistreated in this way.
The combination of sub-standard healthcare facility conditions and physical abuse is what compelled me to get involved. My mom and aunt gave me the idea to apply for funding from the Dakar Women’s Group that would help me to improve the health conditions for these women.
SC: What have you done so far to raise money to support this campaign?
Well, after submitting my proposal, I was contacted by a representative of the Dakar Women’s Group, who arranged a visit to the Health Center as part of their review process.
Ironically, I still hadn’t shared any of this with the Health Center’s medical team so now that a review committee was coming to scope things out I had to get their permission. Fortunately, after hearing what I’d been up to, the medical team leadership gladly agreed and welcomed any help.
To make a long story short, they came and met with the medical center students and me. They were so moved by the dire needs of the patients and medical staff that they decided to grant us a total of $6,000.
It was an amazing blessing because it helped the center purchase some expensive medical equipment that was desperately needed. Medical equipment doesn’t come cheap.
So far, I have been fundraising locally through friends and families of other students. I’ve also been intrigued by crowd funding. So I recently created an Indiegogo Campaign to help us raise funds for specific necessities like medical supplies and additional equipment.
When Cecily contacted me and told me that she wanted to help us raise $7,000, I got really excited. She and her team have great ideas and we are very grateful for her willingness to share our cause through her We Are ONE campaign .
Another great reason we welcome Cecily’s passionate support is that she is backing our fundraising efforts up with her Simply Cecily brand. Cecily has always been known for expressing her passion for the women of Senegal. You see that in her awesome fashion designs.
We hope that the We Are ONE campaign will boost awareness of the Health Center’s Renovation Project needs and help impact donations in the United States.
So to answer to your question, I’m doing fundraising on multiple fronts.
SC: After you meet your goal of $7,000 and the campaign is over, where do you see this birthing center in the next five years?
It all depends on the factors of state policies. As far as my engagement in it, I see the health center as a pilot project. We are planning to do some interesting and innovative things such as pre-natal classes for women in Dakar. Using the health center as the stage for this pilot project, I would document results, make program adjustments as needed and reproduce it. In the next 5 years, I would like to have ten of these centers in full operation. The center itself would be used as a reference to upgrade and develop different techniques. It could be used as a site to train midwives and doctors in a new approach to improving birthing conditions in the western African region.
SC: How will you approach educating doctors and medical teams to improve birthing conditions for women?
Our training will primarily be targeted to themidwives. In Dakar, the midwives are in close proximity with the women. The doctors only intervene in complicated scenarios. The main goal behind the education component is to help women have high quality birth experiences. For those most receptive, the OB/GYNs as well will be educated in helping to create a well-nurtured and more holistic birth experience.
Caamo: Yes, that every women deserves to give birth with some dignity. Anyone who is ONE with that should support this project.
This project has already impacted at least 5,000 women. However, in order for this to become a pilot project leading to sustainable and quality health services, the financial impact of fundraising efforts like Simply Cecily’s We Are One campaign needs to be successful and repeated far and wide.
How a person starts its life has a huge impact on the days and years to come. A newborn’s first moments are precious and their wellness and that of their mothers’ is a worthy cause to support. The families and newborns served by your kindness will be deeply touched by it.
Loving Cecily’s slogan, “I Am One, We Are One, are you?”