Association for India’s Development Johns Hopkins Chapter (AID JHU)

Group: Association for India’s Development Johns Hopkins Chapter (AID JHU)

Year Founded: 2002

Name: Laura D.

Status: JHU Alumni

Chetana Vikas: Large scale organic farming initiative by AID in Wardha District, India to counter farmer suicide issue. (Photo credit: Nishikant Deshmukh).

About AID JHU: The Association forIndia’s Development is an organization that supports grassroots organizations inIndia. AID supports many different types of project including literacy campaigns, maternal and infant health, social justice and sustainable development. AID JHU is responsible for reviewing project proposals from NGOs inIndia to ensure that the projects will have a benefit to the community, are sustainable and can have a lasting positive impact. AID JHU also raises money to fund projects inIndia through events and concerts, small bake sales and henna sales, and letter writing campaigns.

 Why I Joined: I joined AID in 2006 as a sophomore pre-med. I wanted learn about the issues that developing countries face and I was eager to see creative solutions that were being developed in India. I saw that the members of AID JHU were excited about the work they were doing and interested in the causes they were supporting. As a pre-medical student it was important for me to learn about global health. I wanted to be involved in providing innovative health care solutions to the destitute of the developing world.

One of the projects AID JHU funded while I was a student was the Tribal Health Initiative”. This project has a central hospital which serves the surrounding rural areas. They train local villagers to become health auxiliary workers who can provide basic health care to the villages. Because the health auxiliary workers are locals it is much easier for the villagers to trust them and be open with them about their healthcare needs. Training these workers helps overcome cultural barriers to healthcare and is also an innovative way to empower the local people.

AID JHU also helped fund many other projects, each with its own unique and innovative solutions.Eureka is a program in Tamil Nadu, India that provides cost effective solutions to illiteracy.  By creating programs that make children want to learn to read,Eureka has been very successful in improving the literacy rates in Tamil Nadu.

Places you can visit: Women volunteers working in a remote out-of-reach Himalayan place Komaon Nandadevi, Uttarakhand, India.

These are just two of the many projects that AID is involved in. Volunteers with AID are eligible to visit supported projects throughoutIndiaas part of research or a cultural visit. AID projects also qualify for the Clinton Global Initiative, an organization that supports practical solutions to the issues of the developing world.

While fundraising here in the US, volunteers are able to meet film producers, social activists and other AID volunteers from around the country. We also had visiting speakers fromIndiathat gave us an in depth look at some of the ongoing projects. AID holds phone conferences and country wide conferences every year which are a great way to meet other volunteers.

Rehabilitation of Tribals: A Photo exhibition by Javed Iqbal taken in Jharkhand, India. (Photo credit: Sudarshan R.).

Joining AID was one of the best decisions of my Hopkins career. As person of European descent I thought they I may feel out of place in AID but I couldn’t have been more wrong. AID volunteers are very friendly and very interested in the work they are doing to helpIndiasucceed. I found I could be as involved as I wanted and even became a project reviewer within the first few months of joining. When I went to my medical school interviews later, I realized that AID gave me a lot of background in global health and cultural awareness.

Fun Times: an AID Diwali concert featuring local Baltimore group Band of Brothers (Photo Credit: Sudarshan R)

How can freshmen be involved? Freshmen are welcome to be as involved as they want to be! I know I was given a lot of responsibility as a project reviewer when I first joined. I was in charge of coordinating the review of a project proposal and communicated through email and telephone with the NGO in India. AID also needs people to be involved in fundraisers on campus and elsewhere so those who want to be less involved can help out with events when they are able.

More Fun Times: Laura drawing Henna tattoo during Diwali festival.(Photo credit: Nishikant Deshmukh).

Website of AIDJHU: