Meet Gisela Bettencourt, a young Rotarian and a dedicated Country Program Coordinator of Rotary Family Health Days (RFHD) in Mozambique. Gisela's journey with Rotary began at an early age, guided by the inspiration of her parents, who themselves are seasoned Rotarians with over 25 years of service. She joined the Interact Club as a teenager and continued her Rotary journey as a Rotaract in Brazil.
Gisela believes that Rotary is a family that transcends boundaries, cultures, and differences. "In Rotary," she emphasizes, "we can do good for the community without regard for culture, color, religion, or politics."
Introduction to RFHA
Gisela's association with Rotary Family Health Days (RFHD) began when she heard about it at a presidential visit to Mozambique in 2022. “The concept of RFHD resonated deeply with me, as it aimed to provide essential health services to underserved communities. But the road was not without its challenges. Mozambique faces significant public health hurdles, with limited access to medical facilities and a scarcity of essential medications. People often have to travel long distances to receive proper medical care,” she shares.
She, along with Khanyisa Bomba, a doctor, were appointed by their District Governor to explore how RFHD could be launched in Mozambique effectively.
The Launch in RFHD
On December 2, 2022, RFHD made its debut in Mozambique, bringing free health services to communities in dire need. The impact was immediate and heartening. Despite the initial challenges of mobilization and awareness, Gisela and her team witnessed the Rotarian spirit in action. “Communities came together, and the event saw active participation from Rotarians, Rotaractors, and community members alike,” she highlights.
What stood out for Gisela was the inclusivity of RFHD. The program, launched on the International Day of Disability, broke stereotypes and celebrated life. "People with disabilities are not just about suffering; they're about happiness, resilience, and the ability to contribute. And the program highlighted that part of their lives. It was beautiful,” said Gisela.
“The experience of seeing individuals with disabilities dancing, singing, and receiving health interventions touched me deeply. It reinforced the importance of inclusion and the need to create a society that embraces everyone.”
The Future of RFHD in Mozambique
After the success of the inaugural RFHD in Mozambique, Gisela and her team have already held another health day recently and are planning to expand the program to more regions, with a particular focus on provinces like Nampula. “Our goal is to ensure that RFHD becomes a staple in the health calendar of Mozambique, providing essential services to those who need them the most,” she says.
As she continues to work towards bringing accessible healthcare through Rotary Family Health Days in Mozambique, Gisela reminds us that Rotary is more than just an organization. In her own words, "I prefer to walk with Rotary because it brings us happiness. It's about doing good for the community and making a positive impact. Rotary is not just an organization; it's a family, and I'm proud to be a part of it."Share