Full Soul comes Full Circle

It’s been more than five years since Christina (Marchand) Hassan spent a co-op term working in maternal health in Uganda. After seeing a woman die in childbirth and hearing statistics that said the same number of Ugandan women a day die while giving birth as in an entire year in Canada, Christina came back motivated to make a difference – and came to GreenHouse to help her vision become reality.

Today with a child of her own, Christina is the co-founder of Full Soul Canada, with its goal of equipping hospitals in Uganda with medical supplies that reduce maternal mortality. To date, FullSoul has provided more than 450 birth tools to three Ugandan hospitals. They are in the process of scaling up the project to ten hospitals, with the projected help of a Global Grant from humanitarian service organization Rotary International.

Hassan, a longtime Rotary member herself, was recognized in November by Rotary International as one of six People of Action Young Innovators. She traveled to Nairobi, presenting her work at Rotary Day at the United Nations.

While there, she had the opportunity to meet face to face for the first time with the interns who are working with Full Soul in Uganda. Among those interns is GreenHouse alumna, Devina Lookman.

“When I hired Devina,” Christina says, “I didn’t know she was in GreenHouse. When I interview, I tend to throw people’s resumes away and instead build a relationship, see if there is a fit.”

And there was a fit with Devina, a third year arts and business student who spent two terms developing a fair trade clothing business, and who is now on a co-op term as a project manager for Full Soul, building relationships with the expansion hospitals. 

Devina says, “GreenHouse totally prepared me for the work I’m doing with Full Soul. Even though this work is not related to my venture, everything I did in establishing that business prepared me as a project manager. Full Soul is still a young organization so a lot of the tasks I learned to do as an entrepreneur prepared me for work as an intrapreneur.”
While Devina attended the UN award ceremony primarily to support Christina, she came away further inspired. “I realized that people I looked up to are out there doing the work, and it inspired me to go back to Uganda and to recognize that I can’t save the world, but I can do something.”
 
As for Christina, while she describes the days in Nairobi as a whirlwind, she also found it powerful to share the story of the woman whose death inspired her own work. Having her own child with her on the trip also was part of her reflection on the importance of her work. “I feel more connected with the work I’m doing. There’s always a bit of fear of the unknown associated with childbirth, but if you’re afraid for your life or your child’s life, or have an obstructed delivery, childbirth would be that much more difficult. The work of Full Soul feels even more real now.”
Full Soul
Left to right (the FullSoul team): Bersh Kator, Madhav Bhatt, Maria Ghobrial, Christina Hassan, Harris Hassan, Hyder Hassan, Devina Lookman, Ashabel Malinga.
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