Kirra Mardesich is an incoming 5th year global health major at UCSD and intends to graduate in Fall 2020. After Kirra graduates she plans to attend graduate school to continue studying global health. She is interested in food, social justice, and reproductive justice.
Kirra completed her field experience hours with two programs. She spent 5 weeks volunteering with United Women of East Africa and 6 months with Feeding San Diego.
United Women of East Africa (UWEAST) is a San Diego nonprofit providing health services, education and advocacy for the well-being of the East African community, women and families. UWEAST’s mission is to be the force for culturally competent health services, education and advocacy for the well-being of the East African community. This organization meets the overwhelming physical and mental health related needs of East African refugee women and families primarily in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego.
Feeding San Diego is a hunger relief organization with programs that “connects every person facing hunger with nutritious meals by maximizing food rescue.” Feeding San Diego envisions a hunger-free and healthy San Diego.
During her time with United Women of East Africa, Kirra helped tutor newcomer children whose families have come to the United States to seek asylum.
“I helped mentor high schoolers with college preparation and helped elementary students with English grammar, reading, and mathematics.”
When Kirra volunteered with Feeding San Diego, she worked in a warehouse where she and other volunteers distributed and organized food such as produce, cans, and any other items that had been donated and were to be sent out to the community.
Kirra notes that although somewhat different, both of her field experiences helped her learn how to more effectively communicate and work with younger children. Her time with both of these organizations also reinforced the importance of community care and how much one person’s actions can help the community.
“There are so many organizations in the San Diego community that can use help. It has motivated me to continue volunteering and to establish a career within a mutual aid organization.”
Because of her experiences, Kirra intends to enroll in more UCSD courses that directly relate to food justice and women’s health.