A boy was dying in this Rwandan community. Here's why they broke the rules to treat him.
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Wendy Leonard knew that Rwandans were experiencing an HIV/AIDs epidemic when she visited in 2006. But she uncovered a crisis that was even bigger than she could’ve imagined.  

She had come from the United States to help make sure healthcare workers were following the Rwandan Ministry of Health protocols for treating HIV in pregnancy and in young children — protocols that included complicated paperwork and triage for patients that were in the most urgent need of care.

But here's the thing ... those protocols weren't always helpful. In fact, during her first two trips to a rural community called Ruli in 2006 and 2007, Leonard found that they were actually making things more confusing.


Women preparing food in Ruli, Rwanda. All images provided via The Ihangane Project.

On one of her trips, local doctors had a young, HIV-exposed patient who was very ill. Usually the patient’s condition determined which set of guidelines to follow, but because this young child’s condition didn’t fit perfectly into any single protocol, his doctors felt helpless.

“Those doctors didn't necessarily trust their own judgment,” Leonard explains. “And then honestly, they weren't sure it would matter, because they thought this kid was going to die anyway.”

And this wasn't the first time she noticed the local doctors having trouble with the protocols in place.

For example, tracking data and keeping up with medical records was a complicated process that involved making calculations by hand. Plus, it wasn’t a priority to follow the government’s rules for HIV treatment since HIV wasn’t the only pressing health problem families faced.

“That was the moment that I really felt, okay, we need to figure out how to help people take the tools they have and make [them] work for them — as opposed to [saying] they have to follow these rules because someone upstream gave them to them.”

So, rather than simply dictating protocols, she decided to listen first to the Ruli community and their needs.

Dr. Wendy Leonard with TIP data specialist Theophila Huriro Uwacu. Image provided via the GenH Challenge.

She brought their feedback to the Ministry of Health, along with a recommendation to shift their approach toward supporting local leaders and strengthening existing health systems.

“In different forms, this is what we have been doing ever since,” Leonard says.

But that was just the beginning of the support Leonard brought to Ruli. In 2008, she founded The Ihangane Project (TIP), a nonprofit that initially aimed to reduce rates of HIV and malnutrition on a local level.

TIP’s first project was to try and establish mobile HIV services at several of Ruli’s rural health centers. However, they couldn’t actually set up those services due to a lack of grid electricity. So they adjusted, and brought the mobile services along with solar electricity that continues to power those health center sites today.

Image provided via The Ihangane Project.

It’s just one example of how The Ihangane Project’s vision has adapted.

In 2017, Leonard proudly announced that TIP had achieved its first goals. Ruli had seen a whopping 160% drop in mother-to-child HIV transmission, with zero new cases in over a year. For HIV-exposed children, malnutrition decreased dramatically by 65%.

And they're not stopping there.

The team aims to improve health systems throughout Rwanda by creating a model to help communities access quality healthcare, even with limited resources.

In one innovative example, The Ihangane Project has created a digital tool, called E-Heza, which helps keep medical records up to date.

E-Heza automatically creates a digital health record, makes the necessary calculations, and sends the data to government health officials. So health workers no longer have to keep up with the cumbersome process of calculating data by hand. Nurses and mothers participated in the process of designing E-Heza, so it’s created to meet their needs.

The new tool works both on and offline, which is helpful in rural communities that have limited internet access. And parents can see exactly how behavior like visiting the clinic regularly helps improve their child’s health.

A mom learns about her child's progress through E-Heza. Image provided via The Ihangane Project.

In this way, E-Heza is aiding health education, and building community within health centers. That’s why Leonard and her team hope to bring E-Heza to all of Rwanda by the year 2020.

And, thanks to funds they’ve received as finalists in the GenH Challenge for innovative health projects, they’re already well on their way. In fact, they’re piloting the E-Heza Digital Health Record program in nine Ruli health centers in 2018.

Now, with The Ihangane Project’s model, a sick child in Ruli doesn’t have to wait for doctors to figure out the proper protocols to save their life.

A mom and her child get ready to receive care at a health center in Ruli. Image provided via The Ihangane Project.

Instead, local healthcare workers and parents will have the tools and understanding to take back control. They know that supporting a child’s own community first and foremost is vital to their health, rather than waiting on outside assistance from the government or other aid workers.

And while the Ministry of Health’s support is crucial, and Leonard’s expertise was important, she couldn’t have made this incredible vision a reality without the community of Ruli.

“They have the solution,” Leonard says. “They might not have the exposure to all the possibilities, but they understand the challenges and they understand their potential.”

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

There's an old saying that luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.

There's no better example of that than a 2016 discovery at the University of California, Irvine, by doctoral student Mya Le Thai. After playing around in the lab, she made a discovery that could lead to a rechargeable battery that could last up to 400 years. That means longer-lasting laptops and smartphones and fewer lithium ion batteries piling up in landfills.

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via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

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