A young Gambian woman was in The Hague last week, delivering an inspiring message aimed at an audience of more than 1,500 people from different parts of the world.
Fatoumatta Kassama, an ophthalmic nurse, was one of the delegate speakers at the One Young World Summit 2018, which gathered the brightest young leaders from around the world, empowering them to make lasting connections to create positive change.
“Five years ago, I worked on night shift in a major hospital in rural Gambia. I used candlelight when giving medication. Emergency drugs and medical equipment were not always available. I was so frustrated that I quit my job. I went to study Ophthalmic Nursing,” she told the audience.
Fatoumatta added: “For two years I worked in the Intensive Care Unit at the national hospital that now lacks blood bags. I found that basic resources; emergency drugs and equipment were often unavailable. Once again, I resigned.
“But I have learned that challenges that seem insurmountable can be overcome. And it’s not just about throwing money at it. I started my Organization EYE CARE FOR ALL in 2016 with $10.
“Every month, I used $10 from my salary to buy glaucoma eye drops. When I saw less privileged patients in the hospital, I gave them a bottle. This is the only organization in The Gambia that provides free home-based and community eye care services for the less privileged, orphans, prisoners, refugees, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
“I have 35 volunteers and we have impacted the lives of 17, 497 people in The Gambia.
We use community radios, drama productions and cultural songs to raise awareness at grassroots levels.”
One of the One Young World Summit 2018 coordinators described Fatoumatta as an amazingly inspirational and innovative young woman.
At the summit ‘s closing ceremony, the young ophthalmic nurse was awarded 5000 Euros to help her set up a manufacturing company, where she would produce reusable sanitary pads using locally available materials.