Planting the Seeds: GlobeMed’s Fundraiser

GlobeMed members tabling for Community of Potters.
Photo courtesy of Bhavana Suvarna

Last week, as part of a fundraiser for a community garden for the Community of Potters project, GlobeMed sold plants outside of Warch Campus Center. The Community of Potters is a marginalized ethnic group living in the village of Masoro, located near Kigali, Rwanda. All proceeds went to GlobeMed’s partner Health Development Initiative (HDI) in Rwanda and their anti-malnutrition initiative.

GlobeMed aims to strengthen the movement for global health equity by empowering students and communities to work together to improve the health of the impoverished around the world. Sophomore and co-president of GlobeMed Bhavana Suvarna explained, “GlobeMed started at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and there are chapters of GlobeMed from each country. Each chapter is partnered with someone else in the world. With the garden, the Community of Potters will have more food to sustain themselves, and with the surplus, can sell for income at a market.”

Junior and fellow co-president Clarissa Frayn added, “The Community of Potters have a sustainable community garden right now and we’re helping expand it. Having a garden will help create an anti-malnutrition program.” Community of Potters is often left out of textbooks, despite the role that it has played and continue to plays in Eastern Africa.

Suvarna added, “GlobeMed is a social justice organization and the heart of it is home equity—so to have access in all forms. It is important to reflect on your own privileges and think about how you are lucky. By being aware of these causes, you are using your privilege to access privileges that you have and they lack.”

GlobeMed members sold succulents and spider plants donated by Frayn’s family and Assistant Professor of Biology Judith Humphries, respectively. By Sunday, all of the plants had been sold and GlobeMed raised about $200. With the success of this first event of its kind, members of GlobeMed expressed interest in future events like this.

Junior Monica Montoya Paniagua elaborated that the Community of Potters “are living in terrible conditions right now, the organization that we’re partnered with, Health Development Initiative, is actually looking to move them into better shelters and homes soon. In addition to housing, malnourishment is another problem that the community is struggling with, especially among the children. We’re hoping that mobile gardens will help increase the quality of nutrition that the community is receiving and decrease other related health problems.”

Some of GlobeMed’s past fundraisers have not been so successful, so together they came up with a new way to raise money. “By selling plants we were trying to link and to educate people about who we are,” says Suvarna. Paniagua added, “We thought it would be a neat idea to do something with plants, since that’s where our fundraised money will be going. Someone in our group thought of selling plants, specifically in recycled mason jars.”

How will a Lawrentian benefit from buying a plant? Frayn said, “Spring is a fun time to have something green in your room. It is a nice little buddy to have for someone with an interest in it. A Lawrentian will benefit from buying a plant because that room upstairs is kind of dismal, and a little plant will brighten it up.” Paniagua added, “In my opinion, all dorm rooms need a little plant. I have a few in my room and they really help brighten the atmosphere, especially of days that I have to spend all day inside studying.” Suvarna said, “You can have the warm glow of knowing you helped a non-profit organization and that it goes to a good cause. The weather is beautiful and having a plant is a way to spruce up with your room and add a little green to it. To give it [the plant] to a parent or guardian for Mother’s Day.”

The event was successful, and the members shared their favorite parts of the event. “My favorite part of the event was how excited people were to buy a plant! I think that plants are really awesome and I love that other Lawrentians love them,” said Paniagua. Suvarna agrees her favorite part of the event was planning, tabling and seeing people wanting to buy a plant. “We were supposed to seek for a few days, but we sold out very quickly. In the past our fundraisers have not been successful, so it felt good that this one was successful.”