by Olivia Koshy
At a very young age my eyes were opened to the world outside my own.
During my pre-teen years I was confronted with health inequities while visiting my family in India, and from then on, I began to search for a way to propagate change. A way to use my energy, passion and resources. A way to alleviate human suffering.
As a teenager, this desire led me to become very active as a volunteer at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where the simple act of listening and talking with patients seemed to make such a positive impact. When they would thank me for volunteering my time, I couldn’t help but thank them in return. Their stories continue to inspire me to this day.
As my search for an outlet continued through my late teens, I soon began an internship at The Women’s Home, a non-profit organization that provides a residential treatment program to help women overcome mental illness, addiction, and homelessness. This United Way agency strives to help women regain their self-confidence and dignity while also empowering them to return to society as productive individuals.
In college, my constant search finally seemed to pay off when I was given the opportunity to found a UT-Austin chapter of a student-led nonprofit organization called GlobeMed.
This organization is comprised of passionate, cross-disciplinary students who partner with grassroots health organizations to improve the health of the impoverished. With a growing network of 46 university-based chapters all working to strengthen the movement for global health equity, this organization proved to be the perfect fit.
Each GlobeMed chapter across our network partners with a unique, grassroots health organization from Peru to Uganda to Thailand. Specifically, GlobeMed at UT-Austin works alongside Clinica Ana Manganaro in Guarjila, El Salvador. Throughout the year our chapter fundraises for sustainable health projects in the community, increases awareness of global health issues on our university campus, and sends chapter members to work on-site with our partner in Guarjila. At the core of GlobeMed’s model of engagement is solidarity through partnership — we are not working “for” Clinica Ana Manganaro, we are working “with” them.
As I looked for an internship this semester, I knew I needed to find something meaningful where I could gain more experience in the non-profit sector, but also continue to make a difference in the lives of others. Ronald McDonald House Charities proved to be another perfect fit. I am grateful to have found an organization that helps improve the health and well-being of families and their children at the local level. I am also continuously inspired by the incredible dedication of RMHC’s staff and volunteers to help ease families’ stress during their times of need.
From my array of experiences, I have taken away many lessons, most of which fall under a common theme: no matter how big or small it may seem, every contribution matters. And in the grand scheme of things, when you step back and really take a look at the work you’ve done, every decision…every moment…every action…every donation can help create the change you wish to see in the world.
Olivia is a senior studying marketing in the McCombs School of Business at UT. She is currently the Communications intern at RMHC-Austin.