“Kids for World Health: A Voice for Life”
Speech for the International Scientific Council for
Trypanosomiasis Research and Control with power-point
September 21, 2009
Kay Kobbe, Presenting
President of Kids for World Health
Wait ten seconds..
It is with great Joy and privilege that I am present among you
representing Kids for World Health here in Uganda. It is an honor to
have an opportunity to share the work of our young people…and as you
have heard, they are indeed here in Spirit. What a gift it has been to
learn, to expand our understandings, and to broaden our worlds.
Photo of kids reading in the classroom.
Begun in a class of 18 third graders nine years ago, Kids for World
Health emerged among my students as a collective understanding that
all people deserve the chance for Life.. with whatever struggles it may
hold. It was founded as a compassionate response to the thousands of
people who die each year from Trypanosomiasis, knowing that a cure
exists in the western world, but for them was unattainable. With strong
passions toward justice and a knowledge of the issues surrounding
neglected diseases, these small children fueled a fire and took a stand.
As their teacher, it was apparent to me that the energy had a Life
of its own…and with appropriate guidance, could manifest endless
Freeze on 7:57.
Photo of meeting on rug…
Educationally, it required that the students have meaningful
discussions on the questions their research and learnings presented, that
goals and aims be highlighted, and that ownership for the work they
would do… be rooted in student- based decision-making.
Photos on education, fundraising, etc…
Through their discussions, three major aims of the organization were
1. Education and awareness of neglected diseases .
2. Fund-raising to provide services that would contribute to the
elimination of Trypanosomiasis. In 2007, the mission would expand to
include three other targeted diseases : Chagas Disease, Leishmaniasis,
and Buruli Ulcer.
3. Expansion of KFWH membership to students throughout the US and
The organizational structure of Kids for World Health evolved to define
itself in this way:
Photo of Diagram of Organization
Photos on EXPO/MSF
Educationally, KFWH has worked on educating students
and communities about neglected diseases through Community EXPO’s,
featuring distinguished panels of doctors from WHO, MSF, and the
global health world. Essential lessons have been learned from these
speakers and from those whose daily lives have been threatened by
extreme poverty and lack of access to health care.
One such speaker was John Bul Dau, a child of the Sudanese War, not
only offered stories of courage, hope, and meaningful existence in the
face of life-threatening adversity, but also, like many of you here today,
demonstrated the importance of taking action in the face of almost
Photos of White House visit II. with Laura Bush etc.
Over the years, members of KFWH have made private and formal
presentations to political figures such as former
First Lady Laura Bush; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Foreign
Relations Chair and Health Appropriations Committee member,
Congresswoman Nita Lowey; and to State Senators on issues
surrounding neglected diseases and on the
“Non-Endemic Chagas Initiative.” Further presentations to institutes
and scientists including Dr. Cyrus Bacci, discoverer of the effects of
eflornothine on the Trypanosome; Dr. Peter Hotez, Professor and
Journalist at George Washington University, and Director or the Sabine Institute, Alice Albright, Director of the GAVI Institute were delivered…to name a few.
Press conferences in Washington, DC; television appearances;
connections with CDC; Exhibits in NYC and in Washington with MSF;
as well as presentations to many groups including churches, temples,
Boards of Education, have been made by Founders and Chapter
members of students.
Photo of Jean and Jeremy
Kids for World Health has also published educational materials for
villagers, and provided funds for Diagnostic Training Seminars for
Doctors and Assistants.
Photos of Actions ( projects site photos..)
Our Fund-raising efforts have allowed us to provide funding for the
construction of four completed KFWH pediatric wings: the first in
Yei, Sudan is dedicated to the work of Dr. Mickey Richer, servicing
90 villages and 305,000 villagers; the second in Duk County, Sudan
at the John Bul Dau Clinic servicing 150,000 villagers; the third in
Kaliua,Tanzania servicing 150,000 villagers; and the fourth…opening in
Lwala, Uganda,will reach 300,000 villagers. Our program for the school year
ahead will include the building of a pediatric wing for the treatment of
Trypanosomiasis in Bodo, Chad. We are happy to announce today that
this wing will be dedicated to the distinguished work of our Advisor and
friend, Dr. Pere Simarro.
In 2010, we are also hopeful to create a program for the treatment of
Chagas Disease in Bolivia, with possibilities for students to participate as
service volunteers and interns.
Photos of Yei..kitchen, lab, etc.
In addition, some KFWH funds are supporting research for the
development of improved drugs for Sleeping Sickness; construction of
a fully equipped kitchen in Yei, Sudan; and provisions for an equipped
lab at a hospital in Yei.
Photos of Kids..
Membership has expanded to include the involvement of over 60,000
students through programs and chapters in France, Senegal, and New
York, Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, and Washington DC.
What has Kids for World Health meant to our members? Let’s listen to
some of their comments.
Dvd of students…
And what do we imagine for the future?
Photos of villagers
• Communication sites for direct dialogue
• Understanding of human equality through personal stories,;
exchange of perceptions, thoughts, values, and feelings; and
through expression of imagination..opening doors for a future
that speaks of service with a new vocabulary and new ways of
understanding cultural difference and levels of common ground.
• Publication of books that reflect human equality and service.
• A global curriculum for teachers and students on related global
health and cultural themes.
Jake, closing…dvd 12:34-13:06…
These eight year old children voiced that Life was important for all
people…rich or poor. This message emerged with words that can not be
identified by age, by position, or by political or corporate complexities.
It emerged to remind us that in spite of all of our differences in
perception, style, culture, religious orientation, economic privilege or
not…that what we share in common is our Humanity. The members
of KFWH find it intolerable that people are dying or that people are
ostracized by diseases for which the Western world holds a cure. They
have, from their Actions, proven and shown others that age does not
matter when people remain connected to the Human Spirit…or when
they find priority in the value for Human Life.
Photo of Jean..
I thank you for this privilege of meeting you and for the commitment
you have given through your inspiring work for our world’s families.
Before I close, I wish to acknowledge, on behalf of the Founders of
Kids for World Health and its members, a dedication of the KFWH
Pediatric Wing in Lwala, Uganda, to the work of our Founding
Mentor, Dr. Jean Jannin, for whom we are most grateful. We thank
you, Jean, and ask you to accept this plaque from all of us.
13:07- to end