Growing up, Michelle (ASH’s founder) was fortunate to participate in various international medical and educational service trips. In 2008, she went to Kenya for the first time, where she joined a team of visiting doctors who gave free medical care to patients living in nearby slums. Through her experiences, she questioned whether free pharmaceuticals and ad hoc medical attention would create lasting change within impoverished communities. She was inspired to build programs that focused on long-term, sustainable results.
Upon graduation, Michelle returned to rural Western Kenya in 2010 with a small amount of cash, a business plan, and a team of stateside volunteers running organizational operations. She was introduced to local and community leaders who immediately expressed interest in partnering. They offered two acres of land, furniture, and time to build a community health center that focused on getting people healthy and keeping them healthy. With the help of local leaders, Michelle visited over 50 families with a health survey to better understand the various barriers to health within the community. The ensuing programs were a direct result of what the community expressed as their needs for sustained health.
Since that time, together with our local partner, we have been able to define health broadly to incorporate access to medical care, education, economics, and clean water.