Student National Medical Association seeks to ‘Touch 1000 Children’

In recent months, several campus organizations such as the National Council of Negro Women have created several initiatives to combat the plight of South African children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Now one group is trying another approach to wage that same battle.

The Student National Medical Association, the oldest and largest medical student organization dedicated to people of color and underserved communities, is on a mission to ensure that 1000 school children of Ghana, West Africa have the opportunity to achieve academic success by providing them with school packs as part of the 2004 SNMA Ghana Medical mission, “Touch 1000 Children.”

“Our organization’s strength is our commitment to serving others,” said Eunice N. Cofie, a SNMA member.

“So, it is our goal to change the lives of 1000 children by donating school supplies such as packs of crayons, markers, pencils and school clothing for boys and girls,” said the senior molecular biology student from Tallahassee.

Cofie said the school packs will also contain motivational books such as “The Principles and Power of Vision” by Dr. Myles Monroe and “Think Big” and “Gifted Hands” by Dr. Benjamin Carson.

“We see the need to motivate these future leaders that despite their circumstances that they too can fulfill their dreams,” Cofie said.

School pack donations can be placed in boxes located on the second floor of Jones Hall under the SNMA-MAPS bulletin board. “We are asking for any school supplies items to take to Ghana,” said Ariana Burgess, 1st vice president for SNMA. “Notebook paper, pencils, any little thing will help.”

SNMA is on a mission to get local businesses, community and school officials, as well as faculty, staff and students to sponsor its 2004 medical mission to Ada, Ghana.

For the last three years, SNMA has partnered with the Nene Katey Ocansey I Learning and Technology Center, a community-based organization, to develop a model for the education and prevention of HIV/AIDS in rural Ghana.

In partnership with Neko Tech, SNMA launched “Save a Million Lives” HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention Program in Ada and collected information on sex and gender roles, sexual beliefs and practices and health information to compile a report to be used by the Ghana Ministry of Health. The organizations also provided shoes for orphans of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the “Shoes for 1000 Feet” initiative.

“Last summer, I had the opportunity to participate in the 2003 SNMA medical mission to Ghana” Cofie said. “It was a life-changing experience for me.”

Cofie said SNMA’s focus is to make the SaML initiative self-sustaining and able to provide long-term benefits to the Ada community.

“During my time in Ghana it became apparent to me that the harvest is plenty, but the laborers are few,” Cofie said.

“I decided to be a laborer to ensure that the people of Ghana live healthier lives.”