By: Mwamini Bifakubaho
Hi, my name is Mwamini Bifakubaho and I am in grade 12, class of 2021, at Citadel high school. I’m one out of the ten students from over five different high schools that have had an opportunity to go through the Promoting Leadership in health for African Nova Scotians (PLANS) program. I joined the PLANS program through my co-op course and I joined it because it was based on empowering African students into careers in health. I have always wanted to pursue a career under a health program in the future so this was a good opportunity for me to explore the options available and find what program I really want to take after high school. This was helpful since I had no specific option in mind before the program due to a lack of research and knowledge about health programs.
The most notable experience I had during my time as a PLANS co-op student is getting assistance/help with how to browse and find information and also exploring the support available.
This experience was significant to me because as an African youth and student in my community I have always felt like I have limited opportunities and support which sometimes made me want to give up as I thought that even if I did my best I will still not get an opportunity to reach my goal. This has now changed because I now have the support I need to succeed and getting to hear from people (mentors) who look just like me and are succeeding in the field that I also want to pursue has given me lots of hope and confidence to do my part to the best of my ability.
My time as a PLANS Co-op student has helped me to get answers to all the questions I had about post-secondary education, explore the programs, and get to know exactly what I want to pursue. I have also been able to explore the opportunities and hear from mentors and improve my research skills. I feel ready for post-secondary education.
Promoting Leadership in health for African Nova Scotians (PLANS) partnered with Dartmouth General Hospital Foundation to create this co-op placement opportunity as part of the Transforming Access to Care initiative, funded by the RBC Foundation. The placement provided health career preparation and support to youth from African Nova Scotian/Canadian communities. The initiative gave participants the opportunity to explore various health professions, engage in hands-on activities, connect with mentors and learn about supports available to them to help them pursue their post-secondary education.