What I'm doing
AIDing the Cause: LA
Instead of seeing friends or staying home during my spring break this year, I've decided to apply for one of Rutger's Alternative Break Programs. AIDing the Cause: LA will be going to LA from March 16-March 22, 2013 and we will be partnering with AIDS Project LA.
AIDS Project LA's mission ranges from making sure people are receiving health benefits to providing educational interventions to providing capacity building and community-research efforts to develop more efficient strategies. More information on their organization can be found on their site. Because of this huge range of work that they do, we will be helping them in different areas throughout the week--whether that's in their main office headquarter or in one of their soup kitchens. I'll be coming back from this alternative break hopefully with new knowledge on how large organizations, like Project AIDS LA, are organized.
If you're friends with me on Facebook, you've probably seen how in love I've become with an organization at Rutgers called GlobeMed. It's opened my eyes to realize, "wow, I don't need to become a doctor to help people." Each GlobeMed chapter (there are 55 nationwide) is partnered with a grassroots organization to work together to build a stronger and more sustainable future. Because of this strong emphasis on partnership, each chapter has a GROW (GrassRoots Onsite Work) internship every year at their partner organization--ours is Cooperation for Social Services and Development (CSSD) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
I am leaving for this internship on May 25, and will be interning for 8 weeks (until July 16). CSSD works with marginalized communities (female entertainment workers, men who have sex with men, and intravenous drug users) by providing health interventions and reducing stigma on these groups within communities. In many cases, these members, as well as their children, are denied healthcare, yet these members are also the most vulnerable to any STD/STI. By providing educational resources, opportunities to grow, and meeting with stakeholders in the local community (police, local government, and doctors), CSSD has had great success in contributing to the increased knowledge of HIV in Phnom Penh.
Our project will be focused on providing sexual health education to the entertainment workers, as well as building a healthcare toolkit for future use, which will cover topics from personal hygiene to abortion to STDs/STIs. Specifically, besides writing blog posts along with the other interns, I'm going to be partnered with another intern to work on language instruction (ESL-type classes for the community health workers). The CSSD workers have different English proficiency levels, so by providing this instruction, we will not only be able to catch up the workers who are not as proficient, but also start teaching the more advanced speakers and writers to write grant proposals. I will also be working on a video/photography media project with another intern. Bringing our partnership back to Rutgers is extremely valuable, and doing it through media is a very efficient way of doing it. Lastly, I will be interpreting, analyzing, and surveying data, as well as monitoring the implementation of our funded program at CSSD.
What you can do
Although I'm currently applying for grants, there have been a lot of cuts. That's why I'm here--asking family, friends, and any person who is able to help me in my dream to continue following this passion to help people. And yes, I know "helping people" is very broad, but I say that because I'm willing to do anything to possibly change someone's situation towards a healthier life in both a physical and mental aspect.
My current goal is $3500.00. $3000 would be going towards my internship in Cambodia. Of that $3000, $2000 went to my plane ticket, $400 will be going towards food, $400 is going to my stay at a hostel, and $200 went to receiving vaccines for the trip.
The remaining $500 would go towards the trip to LA to work with AIDS Project LA and that includes the cost of transportation, hotel and meals, as well as $50 for miscellaneous costs.
***I can't thank you enough for reading all of this! Even if you can't donate anything, I completely understand. If anyone could share this on your Facebook or any media you have, I would greatly appreciate it!
If you'd like to learn more about GlobeMed, watch this video!
And if you would like to learn more about what CSSD does, and the kind of impact it has within these communities, watch the one below.
- 2014 AllPeopleBeHappy Volunteer Service Award grant
- Bert Champagne
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