Samira Modad

2014 Mary Harriman Award Winner

2014 Mary Harriman Leadership Award Winner Samira Modad's Acceptance Speech

The Junior League of Mexico City

Causes/Issue Area(s): Education, Child Welfare

For more than 30 years, The Junior League of Mexico City’s Samira Modad has embodied Mary Harriman’s vision. Upon graduating from the Faculty of Medicine of the National Autonomous University of Mexico with the highest honors in her class, Sami, as she’s known, focused on the public sector and completed a 10-month assignment to a poor rural community in the state of Tlaxcala. While on that assignment, not only did she tend to the needs of population that lacked medical services, but she also contributed her own resources to the purchase of medicines her patients could not afford.

She had found her passion and she did not stray. She has tended to the health of indigent peasants, families in extreme poverty, and undernourished children, and served as her neighborhood’s governmental representative to argue for an improved quality of life for those around her. When she lived in an upscale community, she learned that outside her walls lived families that made bricks with mud, branches and manure. They were ostracized because of the foul odor; their children could not go to school and they were starving and lacking sanitary services. With official authorization, Sami delivered daily rations for 200 culled together from contributions made by 500 school students. Later, to combat the dusty conditions and resulting health problems caused by a deforested school campus, she led a student-run effort to plant trees and hire water trucks.