We are currently hosting an online exhibition of photos taken by Daniel Jack Lyons for HealthRight International. The series, Portraits of Resilience, documents the lives of individuals and communities touched by the work of HealthRight. Limited and open edition prints from the series are available to purchase. Here are the remaining stories behind these incredible photographs.
Home in Time for Naming in Arghakhanchi, Nepal
Sapara Rana went into labor ten days prior to this photo and delivered a healthy baby girl at the Khana community health post. Unfortunately, Sapara suffered from postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) and was rushed 200 kilometers away to the nearest hospital with emergency care. Globally, PPH is the leading cause of death during pregnancy. Luckily, Sapara recovered quickly upon reaching the hospital. She was happy to return home just in time to celebrate the naming of her newborn daughter. Since 2009, HealthRight has been working with the local health system in Arghakhanchi to reduce preventable maternal deaths due to complications like those experienced by Sapara.
Skilled Birth Attendant at the Khilji Clinic in Arghakhanchi, Nepal
Jamuna Shrestha has been working as a skilled birth attendant (SBA) at the Khilji health post for over five years. She recalls one of her first deliveries in the facility and its profound impact on her. Early one morning, a woman experiencing contractions arrived at the clinic with her husband. Jamuna was the first person to greet her and, after an initial examination, admitted her to the birthing center. The woman, however, was uncomfortable delivering at the facility and, when the doctor stepped into another room for supplies, she bolted and ran from the facility. Jamuna quickly chased after her and was able to convince her to return to the facility where the woman later delivered a healthy baby girl. Jamuna realized that day that her job at the health post must begin with educating the community.
Waiting for the First Embrace in Arghakhanchi, Nepal
Sita Gaire went into labor three months early. She arrived six months pregnant at the nearest HealthRight-supported facility, where she gave birth in a safe and secure environment. The baby was born underweight, a common result of preterm birth, and placed under critical observation upon delivery. Luckily, after careful attention by service providers, he was deemed healthy soon afterward. In this photo, Sita is waiting for nurses to return from the neonatal unit with her son, so she can hold him for the first time.
Community Health Volunteer in Arghakhanchi, Nepal
After nearly losing her grandchild to an umbilical cord infection, Krishna Maya Thapa realized how little her community knew about neonatal care. This life-changing experience had a profound impact on her. Soon afterward, multiple women in her community approached her to share their own experiences with neonatal complications, many of them fatal. Krishna was moved by their stories and took action by becoming a community health volunteer. Trained in a HealthRight facility in the community of Khilji, Krishna now conducts weekly trainings for pregnant women and young mothers on a myriad of topics related to maternal and child health.
Assisting with Asylum in New York City
After 9/11, psychologist Rachel Lee was deeply disturbed by the US government’s use of torture at Guantanamo Bay and other detention sites. When she learned that psychologists had played a role in torturing prisoners at these sites, she was appalled that the American Psychological Association (APA) did not declare this unethical. She withdrew her membership from the APA in protest and joined a group of like-minded psychologists who organized to speak out against the inaction of the APA. At that same moment, she inquired at HealthRight International about volunteering to help survivors of torture and violence. Since 2008, Rachel has worked with HealthRight’s Human Rights Clinic to conduct psychological forensic evaluations for international survivors of torture, a critical step in seeking asylum.
Seeking Asylum: From Pakistan to New York City
While under surveillance by the Pakistani government for publicly advocating for women’s rights, Dr. Seema suffered a brutal acid attack and numerous other types of torture carried out to punish her political views. She was lucky to make it out of Pakistan alive, but even after arriving in New York, her struggle was far from over. HealthRight stepped in to arrange for Dr. Seema to receive physical and psychological forensic evaluations. These helped support her claim for asylum, which was successfully granted.
Tania and Yura: Street Involved Youth in Kiev, Ukraine
Tania and Yura met on the streets of Kiev. Tania grew up in an orphanage after her mother lost parental rights due to severe alcohol abuse. At 18, Tania was released from the orphanage and returned home, but soon found that her relationship with her mother was irreparable. After leaving her mother’s house, Tania began a life on the streets of Kiev where she quickly began abusing substances. The HealthRight outreach team encountered Tania on the street and referred her to the HealthRight drop-in center. Tania began visiting the drop-in center regularly for substance abuse counseling, reproductive health education, and HIV and STI prevention. Tania also received legal assistance to register her residency in Kiev so she could access health care and other state services. With support from these resources, and from Yura, Tania feels stable enough to visit the drop-in center less frequently, staying in touch with the HealthRight social worker for occasional advice.
Yura was born in a small village outside of Kiev. As a child, he began running away from home. At 16, he came to Kiev in search of a job and a better life. He began working in a small cafe in Kiev, washing dishes and cleaning in exchange for a small wage and a place to sleep. He spends his free time on the streets with other runaways and homeless youth. Like Tania, Yura first came into contact with HealthRight through an outreach worker who referred him to the drop-in center. Yura drops by regularly for legal support, sexual health counseling, as well as food and a shower. Both Yura and Tania have attended HealthRight’s HIV and violence prevention trainings, and they appreciate having care that they can access together, as a couple.
Olena: Street Involved Youth in Kiev, Ukraine
After graduating from university, Olena found a job and rented a house in Kiev. However, a violent conflict with her mother sent her on a downward spiral, during which she lost her job, struggled to pay her rent and found herself in situations where she was at risk for HIV and hepatitis. Olena sought care at the HealthRight drop-in center where she received free HIV testing and counseling. She began to meet regularly with the drop-in center psychologist and also enrolled in the empowerment training program for women who have experienced violence. Over time, she began to feel more emotionally stable. When the military conflict erupted in eastern Ukraine, Olena felt motivated to make a positive difference. She joined the Ukrainian voluntary army and became a medical assistant in the Luhansk region. She returns to the clinic on her days off to visit her counselors and friends.
Mother and Son in Kiev, Ukraine
Tania and her two-year-old son live in her mother’s apartment in Kiev, without any support from her child’s father. The living situation exacerbates Tania’s fraught relationship with her mother, who is an alcoholic. In June 2014, Tania was frantic, resigned to a life on the streets, and on the verge of abandoning her child. With no experience of a positive family life, and unable to balance work with motherhood, Tania felt ill equipped to care for her son, who was growing quickly and required attention and resources that she was unable to provide. Then a friend suggested she visit the HealthRight drop-in center. There, she found guidance to help her improve her relationship with her mother, find a job, become more independent, and learn to better understand her son and his needs. The drop-in center psychologist counseled Tania in setting boundaries with her mother, and in setting goals for herself. Tania is now a waitress in Kiev and has saved almost enough to move out of her mother’s apartment. She feels more independent and confident in her ability to take care of herself and her son, whom she loves more than anything.
Mother and Daughter in Kiev, Ukraine
At age 18, just after finishing high school, Ricka gave birth to her daughter. She has made sacrifices to meet the demands of being a single mother, such as forgoing her hopes for a college education. A friend referred Ricka to the HealthRight drop-in center, where she received psychological counseling and enrolled in an empowerment training program for women who have survived violence. Ricka also meets regularly with a social worker who offers guidance on child development and parenting practices. Ricka is a regular visitor at the drop-in center, and she is well liked by the staff and other clients.
Katia: Street Involved Youth Sitting in Kiev, Ukraine
As a child in west Ukraine, Katia had great hopes of pursuing a job in Kiev and living independently. But when she moved to the city at age 20, the job she had hoped for fell through, and she was forced to sleep on the street. She began experimenting with drugs and was constantly on the brink of homelessness. Another street-involved youth recommended the HealthRight drop-in center as a safe place to get something to eat or take a shower. After a number of visits, Katia was encouraged by a social worker to participate in an HIV-prevention program, which helped her become aware of her past behavior that exposed her to HIV. She quickly requested HIV testing. The immense relief she felt upon hearing she was HIV-negative inspired her to make drastic lifestyle changes. After several individual counseling sessions with a psychologist, Katia decided to return to her home in the west, and HealthRight purchased her train tickets. Before she left Kiev, Katia was a huge help to the HealthRight outreach teams, bringing them to previously undiscovered locations where street-involved youth slept and spent their time—one of them being the warehouse where this photo was taken.
Dr. Buhusal in Arghakhanchi, Nepal
Dr. Buhusal wraps up another day at the Khana community health post in Arghakhanchi, Nepal. He is new to the clinic and hopes to see large-scale improvements to pre- and postnatal care. By tracking serious or fatal maternal health complications, HealthRight is exploring the strengths and weaknesses of the health care delivery system as it concerns women and children. With this information, HealthRight will work with partners like Dr. Buhusal to expand on strengths and address weaknesses in order to avert complications and protect mothers and babies across the district.
Officer Arthur in Kiev, Ukraine
Officer Arthur Rainsh has been a community police officer for over seventeen years. He has drawn upon his extensive experience to train other police officers on ways to best serve their communities. This is difficult in Kiev, amidst a high tide of street-involved youth, drug use, and domestic violence. At the Criminal Police Office for Children, Officer Rainsh has developed and implemented several series of trainings to help fellow police officers understand the structural barriers that street-involved youth face daily. With HealthRight’s help, he has been able to develop an intersectoral manual of best practices for police officers and other service providers. Officer Rainsh has devoted his career to identifying ways to improve the lives of street-involved youth.
Safer in Kiev, Ukraine
With the increasing presence of Russian separatists in her hometown in eastern Ukraine, this mother began to worry for the safety of her son and daughter, both of whom are under ten years of age. One afternoon in the summer of 2014, she was driving to pick up her children from school when she heard a bomb go off nearby. She quickly turned on the radio and learned that a factory had exploded only blocks from her house. Without a second thought, she picked up her children and drove straight to her parents’ house on the other side of town. That evening, she and her children boarded a bus and left for Kiev, where they moved into a camp for internally displaced people. In this camp, she met HealthRight outreach workers who provided her with food and child care supplies, and referred her for medical care, and social and legal services at the drop-in center.