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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Group to build clinic

    Elisa Carrion, a theater senior, helps set up the Mexico booth at the Pangaea Festival yesterday afternoon in the Main Gate Courtyard on University Boulevard.
    Elisa Carrion, a theater senior, helps set up the Mexico booth at the Pangaea Festival yesterday afternoon in the Main Gate Courtyard on University Boulevard.

    The ongoing swine flu epidemic has recently focused attention on health concerns in Mexico, but some students are already working to address the issue.

    A student-led group known as Health Education Resource Organization, an International Collaborative (HEROIC) hosted a fundraising event, the Pangaea Festival, yesterday afternoon on University Boulevard. Nearby restaurants offered sales proceeds towards HEROIC’s effort to build a preventative health clinic in Agua Prieta, Mexico.

    HEROIC founder, executive director and 2008 UA alum Mohammad Abdul Ghani, said he hopes to raise about $10,000 from the event, all of which will go towards the clinic.

    Although the event raised money for only one specific project, Ghani said, health issues can affect the world, hence the title of the event.

    “”Health issues are a global problem,”” he said. “”Our focus is to build health clinics and provide professional health care to areas of economic disadvantage.””

    The event hosted booths from a diverse swath of campus cultural groups including Latino fraternity Lambda Theta Phi, which was offering a variety of Mexican candies to entice passers-by to stop for the event.

    “”Mexicans are known for their candy, so we want people to get a sweet taste of Mexico,”” said sociology freshman Miguel Acero Jr. “”We want to help those in need. It’s not just important for us, it’s just morally right. We want to move forward.””

    Ghani started HEROIC in 2005 after living in Agua Prieta and working with community leaders, who he said asked him to help them build a clinic. HEROIC has already bought the land for the clinic and hopes to begin construction in Dec., Ghani said.

    HEROIC co-director and Latin American studies senior Katya Gruzinova said that swine flu and the recent economic crisis have called attention to the fact that seemingly isolated events can have global repercussions.

    “”It’s very interesting how health issues outside our borders come in to affect us,”” she said.

    Gruzinova added that an essential component of the project would be working with people in Agua Prieta to address the specific needs of that community.

    “”It’s going to be a community effort, so it’s not going to just be us bringing supplies and everything and leaving it there. It’s a community initiative,”” she said. “”With the help of the resources there and our own support, we should be able to help construct something useful.””

    The event was also a boon for nearby businesses such as La Salsa, 825 E. University Blvd., where 15 percent of sales proceeds went to HEROIC. La Salsa General Manager Percival Palma said he is always open to hosting percentage nights, adding that traffic in the restaurant always increases.

    “”We’re helping activities that serve the campus. We always try to be involved with these groups,”” Palma said. “”It’s a great environment. You can feel the energy.””

    Gruzinova added that reaching out to those in need is an essential application of a college education.

    “”As world leaders, it’s our responsibility to understand and act upon things we learn in the classroom,”” Gruzinova said. “”If we can engage the community to support people outside our borders, that’s a first step towards something bigger.””

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