April 15, 2013

GlobeMed members plan project to help Peruvian patients

A group of globally minded students is working to improve the lives tuberculosis patients in Lima, Peru, through grassroots initiatives and entrepreneurial ventures.

Four students from the University of Chicago GlobeMed chapter will be assisting Asociación de Personas Afectadas por Tuberculosis del Perú (ASPAT) in Lima, Peru, this summer in its efforts to help 15 tuberculosis patients start their own micro-businesses. For six weeks, fourth-years Ethel Yang and Lizzette Melo-Benitez, and third-years Sarah Huynh and Tammy Abughnaim will be measuring the impact of the project and evaluating the progress of each micro-business.

GlobeMed has been working with ASPAT since 2010, primarily providing food baskets for the tuberculosis patients. This past year, president and founder of ASPAT Melecio Mayta Ccota approached GlobeMed, suggesting they work together on this new entrepreneurial project.

“With the idea of a partnership, the goal is not to be in a patriarchal position, it’s more of an idea of letting you help yourself,” Yang said. “We provide valuable resources and knowledge to support that long-term partnership in multiple ways.”

Melo-Benitez said that the project is currently in its planning stages. In addition to planning the curriculum for business seminars for the new entrepreneurs, GlobeMed is fundraising so that the organization can conduct interviews with the 40 potential candidates of the program. The group partnered with the University of Chicago Microfinance Initiative to establish a list of criteria used to select the candidates, such as organizational skills and motivation.

“Tuberculosis is a disease that is closely tied with poverty and socioeconomic issues,” Yang said. “Unless you address those issues, you’re just putting on band-aids.”