A bit more background on me, for those of you who have supported us in the past, and will hopefully continue to support us in the future. My husband Mike and I spent five months living in Dar es Salaam in early 2012, when Mike had the opportunity to work on a project in Tanzania. I took a sabbatical from my work with Deloitte’s Human Capital Consulting practice. Through a series of strange connections, including my soccer coach and the former Board President of Kupona, I was connected to CCBRT. They gladly accepted the “free” management consultant, and gave me the opportunity to lead the development of CCBRT’s 2013-2017 Strategy. And by “led,” I mean that I helped create a framework, researched, interviewed, and facilitated discussions. Consultants come and go – the strategy needed to be something that was owned and developed by CCBRT. You can read CCBRT’s 2013-2017 Strategy on our website.


Neemah is being treated for obstetric fistula

The more I learned about CCBRT, the more impressed I was by the impact they were having on over a million people each year in Tanzania… The high quality services provided equally to the poorest and to those who could afford to pay more. The comprehensive approach to Community Based Rehabilitation – bringing care for children and adults with disabilities directly to the communities. The focus on sustainability through their Private Clinic and the establishment of Kupona Foundation in 2009. The leadership and staff in Dar es Salaam and Moshi. The public-private partnership with the government of Tanzania. The innovative approaches that CCBRT was not afraid to take – such as using mobile money to transport fistula patients to the Disability Hospital, breaking the transport barrier that prevented the poorest from being cured. I could go on.

When I learned that Kupona’s Executive Director was going to step down with the birth of her second child, I thought that perhaps I could help with the transition. And then I thought, maybe this is the time. As an undergraduate Sociology major and even through Business School, I had maintained a long-term career interest in working in the nonprofit/development world, which was based on my fundamental belief that everyone deserves to have access to opportunity.


Kaspar was born with club feet, a correctable disability

We are very fortunate in the United States. We take things for granted sometimes. In the U.S., if I broke my leg playing soccer, I wouldn’t spend the rest of my life with a disability. Friends who had complications giving birth won’t spend the rest of their lives with obstetric fistula, as outcasts in their communities. When my grandmother developed cataracts, she didn’t spend the rest of her life blind.

By preventing and curing disability, CCBRT gives people the opportunity to live – not only changing the lives of patients, but also of their families and communities. This is why I made the decision to join Kupona.

I am optimistic about our future, and of the expanding impact we will have through CCBRT. At this time of year, as we give thanks for our family, friends, and health, consider helping others have the same opportunities through a gift that will change lives.


AKocan4_Oct 2013

Abbey Kocan, Executive Director