As we celebrate National Heroes Day, let us meet some of the new heroes of the new normal!
During the pandemic, ICM launched the Flourish program that raised Community Health Champions (CHCs) among the Transform participants and we trained them to be their community’s health advocates.
This program has been steadily making a difference in our communities, helping families living in ultra-poverty have somebody check in on them, listen to their health concerns, keep their family’s health journey on track, and help them access medical help when needed. This is especially important for families working their way out of ultra-poverty. One medical crisis could be a matter of — not just life and death — going losing all the progress they have made.
Poverty is both a cause and a consequence of poor health. People living in poverty lack the knowledge, money, and access to medical care that helps prevent and treat illness. Sickness spreads quickly in the crowded and unhygienic conditions that impoverished families live in.
Let’s first meet some of the Community Health Champion Coordinators (CHCCs). They are the ones who support the CHCs by meeting with them regularly in Flourish meetings, delivering the health resources, and running the CHC training sessions.
“The most fulfilling part of my role being a CHCC is imparting the knowledge to CHCs and seeing their work improve. They appreciate the things I am teaching them and they apply them in the community they are serving and even with their own families.”
“What really encourages me and inspires me most are my volunteers. I see how passionate they are as I visit them and the communities. I can see how they work very hard.”
Noella Mae, CHCC
“Many people may not see the significance of the CHCs at first, but they do play a dynamic role in educating individuals in the community to uphold and promote healthy practices and disease prevention. With their dedication and commitment, ICM’s mission to reach the poor is possible by providing benefits and assistance that is timely and relevant to their health needs.”
Then there are the Community Health Champions, the ones who go to the homes of our participants to check in on their health and really get to know their families and their journeys. CHC volunteers operate as patient advocates, informal educators, counselors, and outreach workers. They have their own challenges, but it’s gratifying to see how they are growing into their roles and continue to be inspired to do this important work.
“At first, it was hard when I visited some households because some members did not understand my task. But in the process of doing my work as a CHC, I overcame it by taking the time to explain to them the purpose of my task. Now, I am more comfortable and they accommodate me well every time I visit their house.“
“Being a CHC, I enjoy serving the community and my family too. My family, especially my children, are my source of inspiration. With what I’ve learned from our training, I can personally monitor and screen my family’s health while I am working as CHC. I wouldn’t be able to do this if I were employed in another company or other job. I would not even have time to take care of them if I were working somewhere else! I also applied what I learned first to my family to be more effective in sharing it to the people in our community.”
We hope their stories inspire you to support our CHCs even more!