By Dennis Shaughnessy
When I first heard of the tragic crash on the flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, I immediately thought of the likelihood that the loss of life would include people dedicated to development work in that region of the world.
Nairobi remains the hub of social enterprise in Africa, as well as a center for development work.
While every death in the crash is a tragedy, there were in fact several people on board who were in fact development professionals.
Two stories hit home, for me.
Samya Stumo was a University of Massachusetts graduate and a native of Sheffield MA who was working for an organization called ThinkWell Global. Her friends and colleagues say she was a passionate advocate for improved access to quality health care among poor and marginalized people. She was reportedly traveling to Uganda for her first project for health care project for ThinkWell. Ms. Stumo was just 24 years old.
Cedric Asiavugwa also tragically died on the flight while traveling home to Nairobi. A third year student at Georgetown Law School and a native Kenyan, Cedric was passionate about social justice on a global scale. Before law school, he started a non-profit in Somalia to assist women and children fleeing violent conflict in that country. A scholar and a mentor to many, Mr. Asiavugwa was remembered in a campus ceremony earlier this week.
This note is a small effort to honor these two remarkably dedicated and passionate young people. The deeply rooted commitment and all too often sacrifice of young people working every day for global social change should not go unnoticed.
(Thanks to local news outlets WAMU and the BerkshireEagle for their reporting.)