School of Public health reaches out to help people in Sub-Saharan Africa
The mission trip team visited an orphanage in Swaziland. This woman runs the facility.
As a result of Loma Linda University’s outreach on the continent of Africa, women in Maputsoe, Lesotho, are learning new skills that will empower them to raise their income level and standard of living. Villagers living nearby the Lesothan community of Mapoteng will cooperate to work and share the fruits of a community garden.
Another result of the spring break mission trip is new insights some of the students have gained.
“The main thing I took home with me from Africa is that every little thing anyone can do does make a difference,” says Michael Mashni, one of several SPH students who went on the mission trip.
The School of Public Health will continue to work for improvement in Africa, focusing on establishing an HIV/AIDS testing and counseling clinic in Manzini, Swaziland. Mr. M
Fran Moo-Young, administrative assistant, SPH, helps a member of the Adventist church in Lesotho learn to use the sewing machine.
ashni has taken the lead in raising funds for the dreamt-of clinic.
Then there’s Adam Moore, who was tapped by S. Eric Anderson, PhD, MBA, associate professor, SPH, to document the trip on video.
“I had intended to attend the mission trip only to work,” Mr. Moore remembers. “And when we started to be involved over there, I became more and more interested in what was actually taking place, i.e., helping people that have no way of making money.”
Mr. Moore says his public health training is preparing him to do more work abroad.
“It has become a passion of mine since the trip. Whether I plan to do mission work solely is a decision I’m leaving up to God, but it will definitely be a large part of my life—whether it is in a foreign country or here in ou
Justin Freed, SPH student, holds a young orphan in Swaziland. Both his parents died of AIDS, and unfortunately, he is infected as well.
r backyard,” he says.
Small countries landlocked within Sub-Saharan Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland are suffering as a result of poverty and poor health. In Lesotho, according to the World Health Organization, the average life expectancy is only 35.7 years. Life expectancy in Swaziland is only about three years longer. HIV and AIDS rates run high.
LLU students, faculty, and staff were inspired to help after Oscar Giordano, MD, of the Seventh-day Adventist HIV/ AIDS International Ministry, and an SPH alumnus, spoke to one of Dr. Anderson’s classes, international economic policy.
A small mission team from the School was formed, and it chose two outreach projects from a list that Dr. Giordano offered: to implement a sewing project and a community garden project in Lesotho.
The main idea beh
The mission team and an Adventist church/HIV support group in Lesotho. Pictured in the background is the church to which the mission team donated sewing machines.
ind such projects is to help villagers create income-generating, self-sustaining work cooperatives.
In Lesotho, the LLU group purchased four sewing machines and other sewing supplies and took them to the Adventist church in Maputsoe. There, School of Public Health staff member Fran Moo-Young—who is also a student at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising—trained about half a dozen women.
Such sewing alliances are designed to snowball, with these women training others and so on. An overseeing commission sells and distributes the women’s handiwork and provides financial aid for women to buy their own equipment.
Nearby the city of Mapoteng, the LLU group made arrangements to purchase needed supplies and labor to start up a community garden once a well is finished being dug there. The local hospital, Maluti Adventist Hospital, will oversee the completion of the project.
The LLU group also visited an AIDS hospice, orphanage, and clinic in Swaziland.
To contribute toward the efforts to raise money for an HIV/AIDS clinic and counseling center in Swaziland, contact Mr. Mashni by e-mail at or by phone at (909) 799-6305 or (517) 896-8516.
According to Dr. Anderson, many of the African church members they met were extremely grateful for the effort the mission team put into preparing for and making the trip.
“It was so hard for them to understand how 15 young people from the other side of the world, whom they had never met, would work so hard raising money and then travel halfway around the world to visit them,” he remembers.