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Learning Center Experience
From its peaceful
mountainsides that evoke ancient legends to the colorful town streets bursting
with life, Nepal is an incredible land of contrasts. Its people are welcoming
and determined. New York City RN Maria
Almanza learned this and more when embarking on a visit that would forever
change her life.
During the summer of
2012, Maria volunteered as a nurse at the College of Medical Sciences hospital
in Chitwan, Nepal, as part of an
independent study to gain more hands-on clinical experience. While completing her rounds, she noticed an
overwhelming amount of patients with undiagnosed diabetes-related problems,
such as kidney failure, cardiac diseases, and major infections leading to the
amputation of limbs and damaged eyesight.
Much of what Maria
witnessed could have been prevented with early diagnosis and health education; however,
regular health exams are not the norm in Nepal. Furthermore, patients do not
have medical insurance, nor do they receive support from the government. Some
are even forced to sell their homes and belongings to pay for treatment.
chronic diseases on the rise in Nepal, Maria knew she wanted to help. On the
advice of Sita Parajulle, the nursing director at the College of Medical
Sciences, Almanza created Bucketts of Love in 2013. The charitable
organization provides free health care and education to help the Nepalese battle
returned to Nepal in 2014 for a third time and expects to stay 2 or 3 years as
she continues her work with Bucketts of Love, spreading its mission of diabetes
screening and education beyond Chitwan to include various regions near Pokhara,
ultimate goal is to build a clinic sustained by physicians and nurses providing
free care to those suffering from diabetes. She also dreams of one day taking
Bucketts of Love to other developing countries. For her inspiring work in Nepal
and courage to make a difference, Maria was featured
in Kaplan University’s #LeadLikeANurse campaign.
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