“All people deserve to live a life in dignity” is the mantra of Kristin Kelly ’09. “The path to universal human dignity might not be defined or clear-cut, but I certainly feel I have a role to play.”
Kelly’s journey toward living out her mantra began at Regina Dominican and led her to the University of Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute of International Studies. “My communities at both Regina Dominican and Notre Dame allowed for a well-rounded type of personal growth. Academics were always rooted in the greater understanding that our talents should be shared with those less fortunate. My education set me, along with my peers, on course for a lifetime of social and global action.”
Upon graduation from Notre Dame, Kelly moved to Bududa, Uganda, a rural district without running water or reliable electricity. This district became her home for six months. In Bududa she worked alongside a small team of Ugandans to run a pre-primary school, support Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) in the community, and develop systems to uphold the sustainability of the organization and its work.
Kelly believes that she is indebted to the people of Bududa. “They taught me about the strength of community, the resilience of love and the amazing power of human connection, transcending borders, languages and cultures, in its purest form.”
Since March 2014, Kelly has been working for Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), a British NGO and the largest international development organization working through volunteers to fight poverty. Her current position is as Business Development Officer for VSO’s Regional Health and AIDS Initiative for Southern Africa (RHAISA). Working out of her office in Pretoria, South Africa, Kelly focuses her efforts on fundraising and ultimately working to close the gap between health policies and public health actions, allowing the region’s poorest and most vulnerable people to lead healthier, more dignified lives.