On March 5, the UCD chapter of Global Law Brigades hosted its first meeting in hopes of bringing passionate, humanitarian-minded students together. Global Law Brigades’ (GLB) mission is to establish legal human rights and sustainable environmental plans in Panama. “Our club specifically is focused on fostering human rights, respecting local culture, preserving the environment and promoting legal empowerment [to Panamanians],” said Arya Srinivasan, junior psychology major.
“The great thing about Global Brigades is that there are a variety of subdivided groups within the organization, [such as] architecture, business and micro-finance brigades that complement our work in Panama,” Srinivasan said.
GLB also makes trips down to Panama to “provide indigenous people with the sustainable tools to support themselves and know their rights,” Srinivasan said.
Each individual volunteer donates $100 for investment in the community they volunteer in, which goes towards funding the eight-day experience in Panama.
Although the law brigade only goes to Panama, other brigades venture elsewhere, said GLB’s student advisor Dhruv Mathur.
“We have a large presence in Honduras with our medical, dental, water, public health and microfinance Brigades,” said Mathur in an e-mail interview.
“We hope to go to Panama in late summer or over winter break,” Srinivasan said. “The project timeline is entirely dependent on fundraising, so we should have a more definite picture as we get underway with that spring quarter.”
Long-term however, reaches out into the details of fundraising so that the initial trip to Panama is a success, along with subsequent follow-ups. As advisor, Mathur said that he would assist in fundraising and planning for the impending mission, one that takes much attention and commitment from brigadiers.
“Our projects are longitudinal, in that successive trips from the UCD chapter would work with the same community,” Srinivasan said. “This enables us to see real changes take place over time within a community we have bonded and grown familiar with.”
On-going projects include creating pocket-sized legal resource directories for women, leading workshops in non-violent communication methods and mediation, establishing local legal experts on sustainable land use and setting up ethical guidelines for small businesses.
GLB also has partners in working towards peace and justice in Panama including the US Peace Corps, Earth, Train and Planting Empowerment.
“I’m really excited about it,” said Tori Martin, the Public Relations and Event Planner for GLB and sophomore exercise biology major. “We basically take whatever people are passionate about and put it on a global scale; it allows people to dip their hands in and see because we may not get this opportunity elsewhere.”
Once GLB is registered with all of its officers, all information will be e-mailed to members about meeting times and locations. If you are interested, contact Arya Srinivasan at email@example.com.
DINA MORCOS can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.