We met up with Antonia, Alejandra and Luana from St. Edward’s Univeristy in Austin, TX on a beautiful morning at La Mariposa Spanish School. They wanted to work with a grassroots organization that promotes equality of global health- the primary purpose of GlobeMed, the organization that partners university chapters with NGO’s like us.
It was love at first sight for the trio and Mi Rincon de Cuentos. Everyday Dariela and Estella capture the attention of 20+ children and create an loving atmosphere for reading. Through imagination and reading, a child gains access to a whole new world of possibility and change. S/he can read about dinosaurs roaming in prehistoric swamps, red race cars zipping around the race track or learn a moral about taking care of the earth and respect from The Giving Tree. Whichever story may resonate s/he leaves with a dream of being a engineer, biologist, anthropologist, etc.
Literacy and access to books is a physiological element of equality and global health. This is why St. Edward’s U chapter decided to partner with Mi Rincon de Cuentos. They will also help raise funds for nutrition snacks and drinking water – a physical element of achieving global health. We are super excited to collaborate with our local project managers and St. Edward’s U chapter in creating positive change in Los Martinez barrio.
Antonia, the chapter’s coordinator, shares a blog and video about her joy of volunteering and what makes this community project successful and sustainable. Take a look:
“At the beginning of this trip, I really didn’t know what to expect. This is a new partner for us, so there was a lot of pressure on our team, to choose a project that will represent the Globemed chapter at St. Edward’s Univeristy. We had a very full itinerary, and were able to see a lot of the community and the involvement of Asociación Tierra. That was really nice, especially getting to know all of the people that live here. Personally this trip has helped me expand beyond my comfort zone. Staying with a host family was the best option for our team. We got to live in the heart of the community, and learn so much that would not have been otherwise possible. In addition, we got to communicate and use Spanish so much and luckily most of our team already knew Spanish, so that really helped to connect more intimately with the community and the projects we visited. I learned that at the end of the day, through all of the chaos of life, we are all just human. Simply human. And we all share the same experiences, similar hopes, dreams and needs. Through the power of organizations like GlobeMed, other parts of the world are able to access, and achieve the rights that belong to all human beings. GlobeMed really provides more than that though. It gives the genuine, and close connection within a community between our chapter and the community we are working with. With this, our project becomes more than a project, it becomes something that is incredible to see unfold. Asociación Tierra in contribution with La Mariposa Spanish School, has done incredible things for the community starting nearly ten years ago. They have really impacted the community in ways that could not have otherwise happened. The people really trust our partner organization, which has made really nice to work with because there is already a connection to the people in the community, and that is an extremely important, if not, the most important part of a grass roots project. This is because there is already trust established in the community between the people and out partner organization. This helps when it comes down to knowing the needs of the people, and hearing what they really need, instead of outsiders coming in and providing unnecessary needs to the community. That doesn’t really allow for a trust or growth in the community that is desperately need to start the desired sustainability of a project. And that is the ultimate goal in mind when our team was surveying the projects. Ultimately sustainability should be the primary goal when it comes to the implementation of the project. This way, success is shown. This should be done by also researching, asking the community and getting a feel of the strategies that are needed to make this a reality. At the end of the day, it is important to make a strong connection with the community, and implement a project that is sustainable so that perhaps in the future the project can be spread to other areas of the community as well.”