Abby Zeveloff: Working on ‘HIV infected girls’
Resident of: USA
Academic pursuit: Masters degree in public health at the University of North Carolina, USA
Field posting: Chennai, Tamilnadu
Field subject: HIV
Abby couldn’t have asked for more than being chosen to work on an HIV programme as an intern in South India.
Pursuing a Masters degree in public health at the University of North Carolina in the United States, Abby feels it is an honour to be part of the UNICEF programme in India. “I have learnt a lot about the Asian community, HIV in India and the sex-ratio. In fact, the orientation course itself gave me valuable insight into what my field work will be,” says Abby.
Abby thinks the ten-week stint in Chennai, where she will be working on “self assessment of breast for HIV infected girls”, will be a great learning experience. “Coming from the US, I have read a lot on HIV. But I guess when I am in the field with the group, communicating with the locals will not be easy.”
“I have learnt a lot about the Asian community, HIV in India and the sex-ratio. In fact, the orientation course itself gave me valuable insight into what my field work will be,”Even though the total rise in HIV cases in India is lower than previous year, Abby knows, she cannot get blinded by statistics. ‘I am familiar with the group I am going to be working with. I know at the end of the programme, I will have sufficient data for making a case study. This is a process wherein the information I gain will be of value not just to me but also the UNICEF,” says Abby.
HIV and AIDS might still be taboo words in many places in India, but Abby will be going with an open mind. “I am not going to be wearing masks while doing case studies, but yes if I am handling HIV cases, the gloves will be on.”
Yong Wan Kim: Finds India fascinating
Resident of: South Korea
Academic pursuit: Masters degree in International Environment, San Diego, USA
Field posting: Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Field subject: Infant feeding
Having done his graduation in political science in Seoul before moving to San Diego for a Masters degree in International Environment, Yong did his own research before coming to India.
“It is one thing to study theory and quite another to be actually going to the villages collecting data”
Even when Yong was an undergraduate student, he had read a lot about Japan, China, and the entire South East Asian continent. Coming to India for the first time is something which Yong, 27, had not dreamt of. “India has been a case study for me long before. But it is fascinating to be here in a land with such diversity,” says the Korean, who will be based in Chennai.
His field work will relate to case studies on infant feeding. “It is one thing to study theory and quite another to be actually going to the villages collecting data,” says Yong. “I am looking forward to this experience not just as an intern with the UNICEF. The experience of collecting data will be invaluable, something which I can carry as a case study for a long time to come.”
Yong knows the heat in Chennai and the interiors will be tough to cope with. “It is good we have Indians in our project as well. I will rely a lot on them since not knowing the local language is going to be an impediment,” he says.