GlobeMed joins Asia relief efforts

Kristyn Schiavone

By providing everything from shaving cream to photo developing to Red Bull, CVS in downtown Evanston is there for students. But last weekend, shoppers used the convenience store to support those in need halfway around the world.

As part of a tsunami disaster relief effort, students handed out fliers outside CVS, 1711 Sherman Ave., which listed basic health supplies and informed shoppers they could help by buying items on the list and dropping them off when leaving the store. The drive was sponsored by the Global Medical Relief Program, a national nonprofit organization based at Northwestern.

Eight boxes of supplies were packaged and shipped Tuesday to Banda Aceh, Indonesia.

“We wanted to get the Northwestern community involved,” said Louis Levine, Weinberg junior and the co-coordinator of GlobeMed. “We wanted a different twist. Rather than money, students could donate something tangible — something they were able to see.”

The executive board of GlobeMed is made up entirely of NU students. Founded in 1999, the organization’s purpose is to provide medical supplies and relief to struggling areas of the world. Two years ago, they achieved national nonprofit status and are now recognized by the government.

“(GlobeMed) has really opened my eyes to issues abroad and shown me how fortunate I am,” Levine said.

With Direct Relief International, another nonprofit working in Indonesia, GlobeMed can send the supplies to victims promptly. According to Colleen Sherkow, Tuesday’s shipment will stop at a warehouse in Washington then go to Indonesia.

“We had a great response from students,” said Sherkow, a Weinberg senior who helped during the six-hour stretches both days outside CVS. “It’s nice to provide an opportunity for students to easily donate something that’s within their budget.”

The supply drive is part of GlobeMed’s ongoing effort to involve the community in the tsunami relief initiative. They also have sponsored a food drive in the residential colleges and begun partnerships with Evanston schools to organize similar drives.

But GlobeMed’s programming exists on an even larger scale. Its other main project is the Health Outreach and Peer Education program, or the H.O.P.E. Initiative. Construction has already begun for a center in Ho, Ghana, to support an education program focusing on HIV/AIDS, malaria and typhoid fever. Students are building and designing the curriculum with the help of professors and other professionals.

GlobeMed Executive Director and Weinberg senior Michelle Lombard said GlobeMed received a $10,000 grant in September for the H.O.P.E. Initiative and then received a matching grant from the Marley AIDS Advocacy. GlobeMed then was able to raise another $10,000 on its own.

“Basically, we were able to come up with $30,000 in three months, which was really fast,” Lombard said.

The money is enough to support the entire first year of the program’s operation in Ghana. Construction is expected to be completed in August.

“I’ve gained a wider perspective on the world and been able to look outside the Northwestern bubble,” Lombard said. “It’s great to know that at some point in my life, I did something worthwhile and made a difference.”

Reach Kristyn Schiavone at [email protected].