The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (“Nonprofit run by Emory grads provides service here and abroad,” Devika Rao, July 5, 2011) reported on the efforts by an Emory alum to help a community in Guatemala — work that has expanded to other campuses and involves efforts related to health care, education and micro-financing.
In 2006, Zain Ahmed, a senior at Emory, spent two weeks in Guatemala to help build a women’s center in the village of Calhuitz. Rain stalled the work and the center never got built. Before leaving, Ahmed took part in a town hall meeting that allowed the residents to list what issues needed the most attention in the small village near the Mexican border.
“The top three things were health, education and economic development,” said Ahmed, who is in medical school at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. After returning to Atlanta, Ahmed created a student organization called Global H.E.E.D., where the acronym stood for the three pertinent issues to this area.
Along with working in Guatemala, Global H.E.E.D works within the community to apply the effort at home. “Through the Atlanta chapter, we hosted an International Water Day to raise awareness about water-related issues in our community,” said Brenda Chew, a senior at Emory University and president of the Global H.E.E.D. Emory chapter. “Additionally, we work with the Latin American Association to help members practice their English and will work with the consulate by providing blood pressure screenings.”
Sonny Bandyopadhay, Chief Operation Officer of Global H.E.E.D added, “We definitely want to get more schools and people involved at the local level whether it is through fundraising or directly getting involved with community issues.” Currently, the organization will send 23 interns to Guatemala in July to observe and assist with deliveries, vaccinations and more.
In 2008, the student organization turned into a nonprofit which expanded to campuses such as University of California at Berkeley, Brown University, University of Connecticut, Stanford University and more. Through these campuses, the organization has sent over 70 interns to Guatemala to take part in building health care clinics, schools and engage the community in matters such as health education and micro-financing.
To volunteer with Global H.E.E.D., visit www.globalheed.org