Journey to Africa

ADRN bids farewell to R. Danielle Chekaraou and her family. Danielle is relocating back to the African Continent after a two-year hiatus from her International Development and Public Health Work of almost twenty years in that region of the world.  Danielle was recently sworn in as the United States Peace Corps’ Country Director to Namibia in a ceremony and training which took place in Botswana at the end of May.  Namibia, although a dream destination for many tourists, is still one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world with vast disparities in wealth, heath, education levels and access to basic services, and where almost 1 in 5 is HIV positive.  Danielle will head programs in Education, Small Enterprise Development, and Health.

Danielle’s beautiful family. (©Permission granted by owner for image use by ADRN)

Danielle stumbled across ADRN in Mardel Christian bookstore in 2012 when she saw an advertisement for a conference.  Seeking a venue to utilize her public health experience and improve her skills, as well as a place to serve God while in the US, she quickly went through both CISM and CERT trainings and was able to assist in Oklahoma and Austin in a variety of capacities.

Danielle assists ADRN during Urban Shield simulation. Shown here with Daniel Geraci and Stephen Brewer of ADRN. (©ADRN)

Prior to coming to the Austin area, Danielle was employed by World Vision International as the West Africa Regional Director for Health.  She was based in Senegal and oversaw 7 Country programs which included Maternal and Child Survival, Preventative and Emergency Nutrition, and Infectious Disease (including HIV and AIDS and Malaria as well as Vaccine Preventable Disease Control) and Disaster Preparedness.  Preceding her Directorate, she served as the Africa Region Maternal and Child Health Advisor, supporting more than 20 countries in Africa through curricula development, training of doctors and nurses, community health workers and World Vision staff and facilitators, and both Christian and Muslim faith leaders.

Danielle worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more than eight years in the Smallpox laboratory, the National Center for Environmental Health, and the STOP Polio program.

Danielle has a Master’s Degree in International Health and Community Development from Emory University, undergraduate studies in child development and nutrition, and is ordained and licensed through the Four Square Gospel Church.  She began her international career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger in 1996 where she fell in love with all things African. Danielle is a single mother of four children. Her son DJ serves in the US Marine Corps and recently completed a tour overseas. She also has 14 year old twins, son Keagan and daughter Kaijah, and an 11 year old daughter, Leila. The family has three dogs – all of whom will head to Namibia the first week of July.

Thanks to ADRN, Danielle and all of her children have become moulage connoisseurs who enthusiastically participated in every CERT training both as artists and ‘victims’ over the past two years!

Daughter, Leila, helping at ADRN’s CERT simulation by depicting a victim with acid and fire burns.  (©Permission granted by owner for image use by ADRN )

Danielle and her children would like to thank the ADRN family for the fantastic capacity building and service opportunities they have had over the past two years.  They will also miss many of you with whom they have served, fellowshipped and formulated amazing bonds of friendship.

If you are ever in Namibia…..

 

Austin Disaster Relief Network has been richly blessed by Danielle and her family. Our prayers are with them on their journey.

 

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