Ben Parker / Sun Staff Photographer

Students in Duffield mingle and eat dinner at GlobeMed’s annual fundraising gala focused on women’s health and reproductive justice.

December 3, 2018

Women’s Health Gala Raises $1,700 for Female Empowerment Initiative in Guatemala

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Students spent last Friday night mingling and enjoying dinner at  GlobeMed’s annual fundraising gala focused on women’s health and reproductive justice.

According to GlobeMed’s co-president Dristi Talukder ’20, GlobeMed was successful in hosting its biggest fundraiser — the gala drew over 150 attendees and raised around $1,700 in ticket sales and donations.

“We’re really proud of how many people showed up,” Talukder told The Sun. “Last year, we sold around 100 tickets and we wanted to up it this year. We’re very proud of how hard everyone in this club has worked to get the word out there.”

In collaboration with other student organizations on campus, the gala’s organizers invited speakers from Planned Parenthood Generation Action and organized performances from a capella group The Callbaxx and Cornell Bhangra.

Proceeds from the gala will all go toward Cornell GlobeMed’s chosen partner organization, the Association Maya-Mam of Investigation and Development. Based in Comitancillo, San Marcos, Guatemala, AMMID focuses on sustainable economic development and improving living standards within their local community, according to their website.

In promoting women’s empowerment, for instance, AMMID helps local women create and commercialize their handcrafted goods with sustainable, strong business models.

Specifically, the donation will directly contribute to a water filtration project GlobeMed and AMMID have been collaborating on for the past several years. The money will allow AMMID to purchase and install more sustainable clay water filters in Comitancillo. Every year, GlobeMed at Cornell hosts multiple fundraisers to raise around $6,000 for the organization, according to Talukder.

“The concept gives women space for empowerment,” said Lakshmi Mahajan ’20, head of GlobeMed partnerships committee, at the gala. “They have more freedom and security as they don’t have to walk miles away for safe, clean drinking water. They can have it from their own backyard.”

This annual gala has served as GlobeMed’s biggest annual event for the last five years, with themes varying by year.

According to Talukder, last year’s theme focused on food insecurity. This year, the choice to focus on female empowerment came from GlobeMed’s recent partnership with the Women’s Opportunity Center in Ithaca, a nonprofit helping women find employment and prepare for careers.

One major goal of the night was to raise awareness about the importance of reproductive justice, Talukder said.

GlobeMed partnered with various campus organizations to table and speak about women’s health, including Planned Parenthood Generation Action, a student group fighting for reproductive justice.

“It’s a lot more than just legality — it has to do with addressing all these interlocking forms of oppression with a holistic framework,” said Alanna Salwen ’19, president of Planned Parenthood Generation Action at Cornell. “That’s reproductive justice.”

GlobeMed’s collaboration with Planned Parenthood Generation Action is a direct reflection of the interrelated issues Salwen spoke about. The organization operates on the premise of systemic change, stressing the importance of addressing all angles of social justice problems.

“What makes our club so special is that we have a lot of communication with a really awesome organization that we all truly respect,” GlobeMed external co-president Giulia DiMarino ’19 told The Sun. “It allows joint action of a lot of different movements, just like the Planned Parenthood demonstration showed. Really, it’s hard to look at just one stream that goes into a problem.”