Specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist Kasandri Govender (left) shortly after her arrival in Nepal. Picture: Supplied
Durban - When Kasandri Govender landed in Nepal in 2015 following two earthquakes that claimed the lives of almost 9 000 people she knew that she had found her calling. 

The 37-year-old specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist at General Justice Gizenga Mpanza Regional Hospital, previously known as Stanger Hospital, was part of the Gift of the Givers medical rescue team. 

Inspired by the work of its founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, Govender said she was thrilled when she received the go-ahead to join the charity's team. 

"Gift of the Givers usually takes a team of first responders like paramedics and trauma doctors so when he said I could join I knew this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I was determined to make the most of it."

Govender said her husband Shilendra Haripasad, also a medical doctor, supported her decision to go. 

Three days after the go-ahead Govender said she hopped on a plane and landed in Nepal where she was confronted by complete and utter devastation. 
Video edited by Sandisiwe Ntlemeza/African News Agency (ANA)
She said despite this, the welcome they received from the people in Nepal was unbelievable. 

"Some people had lost loved ones, some were on sleeping on the streets, but the one thing that struck me was their spirit. They had a spirit that they were going to rise up."

Govender said they hit the ground running and she was involved in primary healthcare despite being a specialist. 

"We assisted with surgeries and helped ease the burden of the local doctors."

She said when she left after a week she felt that she was the only person that gained from it. 

"Despite helping so many people, I felt like I had gained the most. I had self growth and I was spiritually enlightened."

Kasandri Govender is actively involved with the Gift of the Givers and if the need arises she says she would definitely join their rescue missions. Picture: Supplied
Despite becoming a mom to two toddlers, aged 3 and 1, Govender said she was still actively involved with the Gift of the Givers and if the need arose she would definitely be joining their rescue missions. 

As a woman juggling a career and family life, Govender urged other women to live out their passions. 

"I am grateful that I have a great support structure in place that allows me to fulfill this passion and need to help others."

Govender said she was absolutely in awe of the Gift of the Givers operation. 

"There are so many people, men and women, many behind the scenes getting the job done. The logistics that goes into planning a trip is mind-blowing; but it gets done."

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