Campus / International / News / February 11, 2009

Knox students look to provide relief to Hondurans

Interested in providing medical aid to citizens of a third world country? Junior Gaby Fox and sophomore Gabe Paz are planning a trip to Honduras for volunteers. The excursion will be in association with Global Brigades, an organization that, according to Fox, takes “A holistic approach to international relief” by providing access to health care to those in need, along with other efforts aiming to empower communities in more sustainable ways through the construction of infrastructure.

It “Allows students to enact change, even though we’re not professionals and don’t have a lot of experience,” said Paz.

Typically, there are about 60 students per brigade. Since the Knox Honduras Medical Brigade will be smaller, it will likely partner up with another Illinois school with an established Global Brigades chapter. Potential partners include Northwestern University, Illinois Wesleyan University, and the University of Illinois.

The trip will last from seven to ten days and will take place during a school break, but the exact dates have yet to be determined. During that time, Paz said, students will “Wake up early and work all day” at setting up free medical clinics in underserved communities and assisting doctors with through the process of patient intake, triage, and pharmaceutical needs.

Since indoor pollution is a problem in Honduras, due to cooking indoors with minimal ventilation, students will also spend time constructing chimneys.

Students do not need to be pursuing a specific major in order to participate in the trip. While knowledge of medicine or Spanish would certainly be helpful, Paz said, “All that’s necessary is a willingness to learn.” Volunteers will be instructed in basic Spanish, medicine-packing, and all other skills necessary for the brigade’s tasks.

Although the trip is expensive, Knox funds will cover most of the costs for current students (recent graduates will be eligible for proceeds the group gathers through fundraising efforts). Paz estimates that brigadiers will need to pay just a few hundred dollars to participate.

In addition to fundraising, the Knox Honduras Medical Brigade is in need of medical recruits and donations. Both medical professionals and students are needed to accompany the brigade. At least four doctors, nurses, or other medical professionals will assist students during the trip. Desired supplies include, but are not limited to: plastic bags, antibiotics, pain relievers, anti-inflammatories and asthma medications. To make a donation, contact Fox at gabriellefox@globalbrigades.org.

The Knox Honduras Medical Brigade is in the process of getting Student Senate approval to become an official club. Meetings for the club will be held Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in the Human Rights Center, and all interested students are welcome to attend.

Kaeli Winberg


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