Who are MAGNA workers in the field
Zuzana Barciová, operating nurse, mission Haiti 2010
Andrea Stránska, field coordinator, Democratic Republic of Congo
„Living in foreign countries, working with respect in different cultures with different habits, that is a great experience as well as enormous challenge,” Andrea Stránska says about her work.
I have been working with Magna Children at risk as a field coordinator since January 2007. My first function and also the first experience with the development work was the project for stopping transfer of HIV from mother to child in Cambodia. Since February 2009 I have been coordinating medical projects of Magna Children at risk in Africa – in Kinshasa, Congo Democratic Republic.
I was born in Bratislava, studied social work and international trade. During my studies I worked as a volunteer in a center Kopčany for disadvantaged children and youngsters both in a club and in a fieldwork. That work showed me what were the problems and taught me to assist in search for their solution for those on the edge of society.
Before me work for Magna Children at risk I had worked in Slovak Youth Council where I was responsible for foreign area of the youth work. I was dealing with various issues related to children and youth – informal education, human rights promotion etc.
Magna Children at risk has fulfilled my dream to work in a low and middle income country on meaningful projects bringing benefit directly to the population in emergency.
Karin Slováková, project coordinator, Cambodia
“It will always be a work with the people and for the people, a work which can change lives of those whom it concerns, a work which fulfills me fundamentally and has a longtime meaning,” says Karin Slováková.
I have been working with Magna Children at risk in Cambodia since February 2007. When I first met Magna people, I just traveled to Asia to teach English. But after the first short meeting my plans changed and I accepted the offer to work in Cambodia.
I am from Leopoldov and ways of my life were tortuous. After high school I left home to look for opportunities, I found diverse human fates and after closer recognition of existing situations in which people are born, grow up or appear involuntarily and which are far from justice and human rights I have decided to participate in efforts to change such lives. The beginning was a family in southern Bronx, later emigrants form Senegal, nowadays the Cambodian people – also on the edge of society.
In the past it was an instinctive help when I sought for possibilities how such people could be useful. Now I work with Magna on professional projects aiming to improve medical and social care of the children in need.
Vlado Ostrihoň, surgeon, Haiti 2010
He has participated with Magna in a humanitarian mission to Haiti in February 2010. The Magna surgical team has provided urgent surgery, but also post-operative care in a hospital in Port au Prince to patients injured by the earthquakein.
He lives in Bratislava, studied medicine at Comenius University in Bratislava, his specialty is internal surgery, and in his practice of more than 20 years he made more than 1600 surgical interventions.
Katarína Chebeňová, field coordinator, Cambodia
“Dreams can really become the truth. And even my work used to be my dream, I hope that once it will not be necessary and reasons for which we must help, will not exist anymore... But to reach that demands a lot of enthusiasm, commitment and energy and that is why I do this work, which is also a message, and try to do all the best I can.“
I started working for Magna Children at risk in November 2008 in Cambodia within the project to stop the transfer of HIV from mother to child, and I still have been working on this issue.
It had been my dream to work in development aid already when I started my university studies, and that is why I focused all my activities on reaching this goal. My interest in development and humanitarian issues appeared in the first years of my studies, and at that time I learned about activities of Magna Children at risk. I started to participate at least by support of HIV positive child from Cambodia and by volunteering in the UNICEF project of developmental education. During the studies of international relations and European studies at the Comenius University I passed an internship in the Great Britain where I obtained better fundamentals of the development issues and I was able to become more specialized on development and humanitarian issues in the final years of my studies. A unique experience for me was also internship in the UN Agency for coordination of humanitarian issues in Geneva and also at the department of development aid at the Slovak foreign ministry where I learned about mechanisms of development and humanitarian mechanisms on national and supranational level. My language and work experience enabled me to fulfill my dream and join Magna fieldwork.
Mirka Cerulová, field coordinator, Vietnam
”It is not only work but also a mission. A mission, which sometimes hurts, but never hurts so strongly I would say I give it up!“ says Mirka Cerulová.
I have been working with Magna Children at Risk since July 2009. My first work post was Kenya where I worked as humanitarian worker within HIV/AIDS project in Nyanza province. Right now I use my experience in another HIV/AIDS project of Magna Children at Risk in Vietnam.
After graduating at the Comenius University (Master's degree in social work) I worked in PR department of UV SR. In 2004 I moved to UK, where after I finished my study I was living for five years.
From 2006 I worked as a social worker in the two well-known London organisations (YMCA and Centrepoint) for vulnerable young people on the edge of society. This experience helped me to understand social issues of the current modern society.
It had been my goal since I finished my studies in social work to become a humanitarian worker. Work experience and language knowledge (English and Spanish) brought me to Magna and to the work of the field coordinator in long-term humanitarian projects.
Kathryn Sullivan, nurse, Kenya
I became interested in foreign missions when I was still in high school. I decided to go to nursing school because I thought it would be a good way to help people overseas. Since graduating from nursing school in May, 2007, I have been working in a pediatric clinic. When I think about working in Africa, the things I am most passionate about are children with HIV/AIDS, mothers and infants, preventing the spread of AIDS to infants, immunizations, and malnourished infants. When I heard about Magna Children at Risk I was very excited to see that everything I am passionate about is everything that Magna does. I desire to help children in Africa, and I feel that Magna Children at Risk is the best way for me to do that.
Belmont University in Nashville, TN, USA, bachelor of science in nursing. Katie is she is "registered nurse- pediatrics".
Eva Vitáriušová, physician, Cambodia
"Magna Children at risk gave me invaluable experience with trophic medicine and with efficient humanitarian aid in the developing countries. It has also enriched me by experience and knowledge of people living in conditions hardly imaginable for us. It convinced me that hard and efficient work and joint commitment can do big miracles from small things," says Eva Vitáriušová.
I come from Bratislava and graduated in the medicine studies in 2004. In August 2004 I decided to start working at the children's department of the hospital in town Partizánske. This more than one year lasting stay gave me many invaluable experiences I could use also the mission of Magna Children at risk in Cambodia and than in Kenya.
I started working for Magna Children at risk as a medical coordinator of project of rehabilitation at the children's hospital department in Cambodia in 2007. I spent 8 months in the mission. As a physician I treated patients with HIV/AIDS and opportune infections in sick-bed department, I also had patients suffering from various levels of malnutrition,infections such as Dengue fever and malaria. My everyday work was, beside the care of the smallest children, also project coordination in cooperation with local team of physicians. I participated on continuous education of local workers and on regular inspections and organizing of department's running.
Now I work as medical consultant in Magna team and at the 2nd Children's clinic of the Medical Faculty and Children's University hospital.
Martin Bandžák, head of the mission, Cambodia
Martin Bandžák was born in 1975 in Bratislava. He has been an avid photographer from the age of 20. In his photographic projects he focuses on the daily lives of marginalized groups in society, facing humanitarian crises or other conflicts. In 2003 he received an Honorable Mention by the Czech Press Photo competition for his report “AIDS in Cambodia”. In 2001, together with Denisa Augustínová, he founded the humanitarian organization Magna Children at Risk. From 2002, he has been dividing his home between Phnom Penh and Bratislava. His photographic essays include stories from Cambodia, DRC, Haiti, India, Kenya, Sudan and others. In 2008 he published his work about Cambodia: Lost Lives.In 2010 his photograph of a girl got injured in the earthquake on Haiti received the main prize of Czech Press Photo.
In 2001, together with Denisa Augustínová, he founded the humanitarian organization Magna Children at Risk. From 2002, he has been dividing his home between Phnom Penh and Bratislava. His photographic essays include stories from Cambodia, DRC, Haiti, India, Kenya, Sudan and others. In 2008 he published his work about Cambodia: Lost Lives.
Maroš Púchovský, field coordinator, Nicaragua
Maros Púchovský worked as project coordinator for Magna Children at Risk from March 2007 when the project was a mobile clinic, providing medical aid, running. Before Maros began to cooperate with Magna Children at Risk, taught Spanish at the Faculty in Bratislava, published a book on Latin American civilization and worked as a journalist.
Romain Santon, project coordinator, Cambodia
"Magna Children at Risk gave me this opportunity while offering me a work position for Magna project in Cambodia. And when in January/February 2010, I went along with Magna rescue team to Haiti after the earthquake, to provide assistance to the population, I knew that the choice I made few years before was the right one. Because even if the work is sometimes hard and makes us doubt, we always get more than we expect."
I work for Magna Children at Risk since November 2008. I am currently working for Magna project in Phnom Penh, Cambodia as Medical Assistant/HIV.AIDS Program Field Coordinator.
After I finished Nurse School at Rockefeller Institute in Lyon (France) in 2006, I started to work as a specialized nurse in the Civil Hospices of Lyon in different specialty such as surgical emergencies, intensive care and pediatric cardiology. Afterwards I have been working for almost a year in a reeducation center for orthopedic surgery and poly-traumatism. In late 2007, I moved to Geneva, Switzerland, where I worked in the Geneva University Hospital.
During my studies, in 2005, I had the opportunity to go for a Humanitarian Mission in the Protestant Hospital of Bangwa, a bush hospital in Cameroon. The main purpose of the mission was prevention and health care for HIV positive patients. Since then, I was looking forward to have again the amazing and exciting experience to work in a different cultural environment with people in needs.
I like particularly the contact with the patients every day in the field. Children especially are amazing and it’s interesting to see how they deal with sickness. Also coordinating the program and managing the team of locals is opening your views on cultural differences and creating deeper compassion with problems and issues related to poverty and stigmatization.
Denisa Augustínová, operational director, Cambodia
Denisa Augustínová was born in 1977 in Bratislava. In 2001 she became co-founder of the organization Magna Deti v núdzi (Children at Risk), and has participated in implementing most of its missions around the world. Most of the year, she pôsobí in Cambodia, where Magna Deti v núdzi has since 2003 implemented projects focused on HIV/AIDS and malnutrition. From here she coordinates the organization’s international development and humanitarian activities.
In 2007, as an Architect of the Future, she presented her vision of resolving the world’s malnutrition at the Waldzell conference. Her profession is social work.
Sara van Rompaey, physician, Democratic Republic of Congo
Romana Skalická, medical volunteer, Cambodia