Hello, my name is Ketsia Safa Kahambwe. I am a rising senior at Seattle Pacific University with an intended Bachelors in Behavioral Neuroscience. I plan on continuing on to medical school and becoming a pediatric hematologist- focusing on sickle cell anemia. I am from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Both of my parents were born and raised there and then immigrated to the United Stated about 23 years ago. The Congo is one of the most mineral rich countries in the world although most of the wealth is unevenly and unjustly distributed within the population. 

I am invested in the children of our generation. My dream is to see all children adequately cared for; physically, emotionally, academically, and socially. I serve as a student counselor for young children aged 8-14 who have been diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. I work to try and make any time not spent in the hospital as normal as any child who is able-bodied. I also serve as a mentor lead for middle school African American girls who have either not met Washington State testing requirements or who are having difficulties adjusting to middle school socially. Both of these programs are near and dear to my heart because I can visualize my own self within these children. These social constructs and diseases frequently affect people of African descent and it is our duty to help and guide our next generation. 

I alone cannot rid humanity of sickle cell anemia, but I can work with others; physicians, nurses, parents, and social workers’ make this disease less of a death sentence. My ultimate goal is be able to have kids with sickle cell anemia feel as emotionally and physically capable in the realm of school and extracurricular activities as children who are healthy. By creating more safe spaces like the annual summer camp and Christmas event; confidence and assurity slowly begin to flourish. By continually investing in their emotional beings, we also see improvement in their physical health. Having a close family member fight this disease has shown me that we cannot only focus on the labs and bodily functions, but that we truly must invest time in their emotionally state.

Participating in the Miss Africa Washington State Pageant will give me the opportunity to spread awareness to a larger audience of individuals who might be able to help me make a larger impact in the lives of these children that I cannot do alone. This platform will also help cultivate the skill sets necessary to be able to advocate for others effectively. 

Thank you for your time and for your willingness to open your hearts to our children. They are innocents in our society, subjected to the rules and structures we set in place. I hope to see adults as adults and children as children.