Please join us in welcoming Helene Somda as the new Community Manager for Decatur CoWorks.

Somda was one of the original staff members who began shortly after Decatur CoWorks launched in 2013. She worked here until graduating from Agnes Scott College in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Health and a minor in French.

The following January, Somda began a 3-year stint with the Peace Corps as a community health worker in Ethiopia.     

“The Peace Corps was everything I had hoped it would be and more,” said Somda. “It gave me the opportunity to discover what I truly enjoy doing, as well as helped me come to understand who I am in challenging situations. The lessons I learned there will be applicable throughout the rest of my life.”

While in Ethiopia, Somda spent many of her days distributing medicine, providing health education and teaching English. She helped mothers with young children create better health habits in the home. She also focused on creating girls’ clubs with her local counterparts as part of the country’s gender empowerment initiative for early female education. The lessons centered around life skills, self-esteem building, goal-setting and reproductive health.

After moving to a different region of the country, she helped develop a mobile application that was distributed to 50 community health workers. It was used by field personnel to ensure they asked the right questions of sick mothers, distributed correct medications and made appropriate referrals.

“One of the biggest lessons I learned in the Peace Corps is the importance of assessing a community’s needs before taking action,” Somda said. “I’ll rely on that philosophy as I transition into my new role at Decatur CoWorks. I’m excited about the changes that have occurred while I was away, and am looking forward to being a part of its continued growth.”

Key to beginning each day in Ethiopia was a coffee ceremony, a tradition Somda fully intends on continuing at Decatur CoWorks.

In her spare time, Somda enjoys cooking, playing soccer, attending local concerts and thrift sale shopping.