News Archive 2006
2006-2007 – Forming Organization for Cross-Cultural Exchange (OCCE)
From February through April of 2007, Brenda Gonzales returned to South Africa for additional research and fact finding. While interviewing the traditional healers in townships and villages in South Africa, and upon further examination of the health issues in South Africa, two areas of need were apparent. First, the lack of access to high-quality treatment due to poverty conditions, and secondly the need for building a sustainable community.
Looking forward it became obvious that without OCCE, Brenda would not be able to continue funding this project, therefore the growth and sustainability of OCCE is necessary to continue research and for the pilot program of adopting the village of Vukauzenzele. Again, the growth of OCCE is pivotal to the traditional healers role in their communities as well as the plan to adopt the village of Vukauzenzele and work with its residents.
Dedication to helping those in need drove Brenda to use her own resources to return to South Africa (April through August 2006). Through a public health program at the University of Michigan-Flint, she undertook an internship with the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa, and the Presidents Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR). While at the University in Durban I worked with the PEPFAR team organizing workshops to educate Traditional Healers on western advances toward combating HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.