The 18 members of the Cape Breton University (CBU) chapter of Global Brigades are preparing for their first trip to Ghana, Africa for humanitarian work with departure set for August 14.
In only one year, co-organizers Julie-Anne Wrobleski and Jeff MacDonald have created the chapter from the ground up, and have planned the upcoming trip to support an under-resourced community for 10 days. “We began by providing information sessions about this incredible experience and encouraged people to participate,” says Wrobleski. The students were successful in recruiting 16 students from several disciplines across CBU and then executed several fundraising events that supported the planning process and more, as part of their roles and responsibilities as co-organizers. “This trip requires lots of organizational skills and advance planning in every aspect,” she says.
Some of that advance planning included finalizing details for students, parents and working with the VON to arrange group vaccination information. A humanitarian trip of this type includes planning for those who are participating and those the team are going to support and liaising with the parent organization internationally. Global Brigades is the world’s largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization. Since 2004, Global Brigades international affiliates have mobilized thousands of university students and professionals through nine skill-based service programs to improve quality of life in under resourced communities. Students will be engaged in hands on experience in medical clinics, dental care and hands-on community projects.
Wrobleski and MacDonald, who both plan on attending medical school, have traveled to Ghana once before (with the Dalhousie chapter) and are confident that the members of the CBU chapter will have a life altering experience. “My first foray into international medicine left me with a real sense of the important work being done by organizations like Global Brigades towards providing equitable access to care in under-resourced areas,” says MacDonald. “The volunteer experience I gained with Global Brigades helped me strengthen and solidify my reasons to aspire towards a medical career. Through the act of healing in Ghana, I was able to make a real and tangible difference in people’s lives.”
The experience has also impacted Wrobleski’s decision to pursue a career in medicine, noting that “Global Brigades has assured me that medicine is what I want to do as a profession where I can help others in need on a daily basis.”