ASHIA is a word used quite often in Cameroon and has different meanings for example: If a child hurts his finger, a parent would say "ashia" This is a word to mean 'sorry', or 'I feel your pain', and more over it means 'I have compassion for you'.
With this idead in mind, Sabine set out to create ASHIA so as to serve students who were looking for a placement in Africa, particularly in Cameroon. More importantly, it was going to reach out to students or volunteers and guide local Cameroonians in setting up structured, affordable and sustainable volunteer projects.
Since its origins in 2006, ASHIA has sent over 120 students to Cameroon. The majority of them are medical students taking part in an internship in rural hospitals. Sabine keeps close contact with volunteers and with the staff in Cameroon to ensure a good passage of communication. Sabine is the first contact person for all students or volunteers going to Cameroon.
Her main tasks are to send volunteers information, make sure their registration forms have been processed, inform the staff in Cameroon of their arrival and update the website. She also maintains close contact with local staff to ensure that the volunteers are satisfied during their stay. All this is done in her free time. During working hours, Sabine is a full time doctor in The Netherlands, currently working on her specialization.
Sabine hopes that one day the selection, allocation and implementation process of projects and volunteer internship can be done directly from the host country itself. According to her, "The efforts and commitment from both volunteers and local staff have been enormous. A student's help in Africa is about compassion, pride and dignity in what you do and in what you learn".
ASHIA team in Cameroon
ASHIA Cameroon is registered as a non-Governmental organization (NGO). This organization consists of 6 members. These members work every day in order to make sure that you get the most of your internship.
Below are pictures of the members, you will have the opportunity to meet each of them during your stay in Cameroon.
Every month the members have a meeting and discuss the internships, the experience of the volunteers, what has been improved and more importantly what more can be done to make this the chosen voluntary project for future volunteers.