Chiara Castellani(Parma, 1956) is an Italian physician.
Chiara obtained her degree in medicine and surgery in 1981.
In 1983, in the meantime of her postagrduation studies in gynecology and obstetrics, she left for her first mission as a medical volunteer in Nicaragua.
During the ongoing conflict between Sandinistas and Contras, in Waslala, in the mountains of Nicaragua, she became for necessity a war surgeon.
There she had hence to face the drama of victims of mine and war. She embraced the Sandinista cause. For seven years, she had been committed to the country pacification and reconstruction.
Doctora Clarita dedicated herself to the population also working as an obstetrician, giving birth to "niños morenos with lots of hair, when they come out, they shout the beginning of their big adventure, in this strange brave land. Where even surviving is a crazy gamble . But the bet it’s always worth it " as she writes in her letters.
In 1990, once completed her mission in Latin America, she left to Africa.
She had been entrusted by AIFO (ITALIAN RAOUL FOLLEREAU ASSOCIATION) to the management of a hospital which had been abandoned by the Belgians. The hospital is located in Kimbau, Bandundu Region, Zaire (today DRC).
Beside the endemic difficulties, she had very soon to deal with a private personal drama. In December ’92, travelling by ambulance through a uneven road, she was casualty in a accident, badly injuring her right arm. Later, in Kinshasa, she had her arm amputated.
Nevertheless the handicap didn’t undermined her activity: soon she learned how to write with her left hand and to use the artificial limb in her daily professional life as a physician and a surgeon.
During the following years she witnessed the war between Kabila and Mobutu, strongly stating the political claim. In the ‘90ty she was committed as a physician in the health emergencies as Ebola, and AIDS and tuberculosis diffusion.
If you are interested, you can find Chiara’s detailed CV, available in Italian, clicking here.
Presently Chiara is a secular missionary. She works in several health centers and teaches training courses for physicians and healthcare assistants in a district as huge as the whole Belgium.
With the support of “Iinsieme a Chiara Castellani” onlus she carries out projects based on the rights to health and to education.
Her experiences are narrated in two book (Italian) Una lampadina per Kimbau e Carissimi tutti.