Introducing Mandy LaBreche

When I tell people that I will be working in Hyderabad, it’s pretty much guaranteed that they will mention Hyderabad’s signature food dish…Biryani! I am most definitely on a mission to not only eat as much biryani as I can, but to also learn to make this delicious, aromatic, rice dish that supposedly requires a blend of 67 different spices! I also want to learn to make dosas. And not just any old dosa, preferably a family-size dosa (approximate shape: as big as a kitchen table). I hope to find both a Hindi language tutor (even though people have advised me not to learn Hindi in Hyderabad because they speak “funny” Hindi) and a cricket mentor. 🙂

On a professional note, I am envisioning a challenging, yet rewarding work experience in India. Challenging in the sense of learning to navigate through a new organizational climate, different political system, and India’s distinct social determinants of health. The true reward will be in the form of building relationships with staff at SAATHII, SAATHII partner organizations, and the people they serve. A two-way relationship, in which they are able to teach me about HIV/AIDS policy and programmatic efforts to eliminate HIV/AIDS in India and I am able to provide them with tools, resources, and strategies to prevent HIV/AIDS that they might not have had before.

I hope to learn how to create local and sustainable change that has the ability to inform and influence larger level changes at the state, regional, and national levels in India. Additionally, I hope to hear more about the experiences of those living with HIV/AIDS, particularly populations on the outskirts of society and hear candidly what they would describe as their barriers, assets, and potential solutions. Lastly, I hope to gain a better understanding of how Indian NGOs operate, survive, and grow to impact greater change.



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