This is a follow up to last week’s story on Do Good Health titled “Alum starts nonprofit.”
The GC Honors program society Eta Sigma Alpha raised approximately $650 in its first fundraiser for its philanthropy Do Good Health, a nonprofit organization started by GC graduates to build health clinics in rural districts of Rwanda.
“We didn’t know what to expect when it came to how much money we would raise,” said ESA President Julian Lopez. “Since ESA hasn’t planned large events open to the entire GC community in the past, we didn’t know how many students to expect. Seeing how this was our first big fundraiser, I’m very happy with $650!”
ESA’s goal is to raise $2,000 this semester to fund the education room, also called the Ishema Room, in DGH’s first clinic.
“The Rwandan phrase ‘ishema’ translates to ‘honor’ in English,” Lopez said. “Hence the name.”
Alongside education programs for the locals of Rutsiro, the Ishema Room will host another project of DGH founders Jonathan Golden and Zac Rader called the Nziza Project.
“We have a group of 200 women who were abused and mutilated during the  genocide, and we host counseling and different education programs for them,” Golden said. “We will move a lot of the existing infrastructure to the education room.”
Golden identified three things he hopes to improve in Rutsiro: maternal care, mental health and disaster preparedness.
Last year, a mudslide in Rutsiro killed eight people, including a family of six hat was trapped under the mud for nearly 24 hours because of the lack of emergency services in Rutsiro.
“They [the Rutsiro community] just had sticks and rocks trying to dig these people out,” Golden said. “Something as simple as our clinic having a shed with a bunch of shovels and bikes to allow community members to get over to people trapped in mudslides [would help].”
In the coming weeks, Golden’s goals are “managing the construction process to make sure that [the clinic is] up and running by May.”
He is also planning a grand opening trip.
“Sometime this summer, we’re having a grand opening trip where all of our partners, donors, students and interns are gonna come over to Rwanda if they’d like,” Golden said. “All we request is that if they come, they have to give back to the community in some way, either by seeing patients or teaching a class, whatever it may be.”
This opportunity will be available to students with medical or building skills.
“I would love to visit the clinic once it’s completed,” Lopez said. “It would be moving to experience first-hand the impact that our fundraising efforts are making.”
This is Lopez’s first year as president of ESA, and adopting an official philanthropy was one of the goals he wanted ESA to achieve this year. Lopez got together with Caroline Fowler, ESA’s community service representative, to decide which organization to adopt.
“Originally we wanted something that would benefit the local community, but when DGH came into the picture, we couldn’t turn it down,” Lopez said. “The fact that DGH was founded by two recent GC grads was a big factor, but DGH’s mission and purpose was also something that we could all get behind.”
Steve Elliott-Gower, director of the GC Honors Program, added that, “Eta Sig and the Honors Program have been looking to have sustained engagement with a philanthropic organization for a number of years. Do Good Health’s GC origins, its mission and its global reach make it a great fit.”
Top photo by Alex Bradley | Staff Photographer
Other photos courtesy of Do Good Health