Story posted April 13, 2010
Michael Barish '11, of Lebanon, Ore., and Mark Oppenheim '11, of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., have been awarded funding from the Kathryn Wasserman Davis 100 Projects for Peace program for their project to provide affordable medicine and medical services to the people of the San Sebastian district of Cusco, Peru.
Calling their project Prescriptions for Peace, Barish and Oppenheim proposed the establishment of a non-profit drugstore in partnership with Helping Hands, a local organization, and are each planning to volunteer their time working in a mobile hospital.
"A lot of time and planning has gone into this project and it is very rewarding to see that it has paid off," says Oppenheim, a government major and biology minor.
"That being said, both Mike and I do not think this is just a one summer activity. This grant provides the foundation for what we hope will become a sustainable pharmacy that serves the poor of Cusco for years to come."
"Our biggest hope is that we will be able to provide an alleviation that can be sustained and developed," echoes Barish, who is majoring in biology.
"Beyond this, we hope to raise international awareness of the unnecessary suffering that takes place each day. Even a small sacrifice of our daily luxuries can change lives. Mark and I are both very honored to have been given this incredible opportunity for service."
"I can't think of two students who are more deserving of the Davis Projects for Peace grant than Michael and Mark," says Associate Director of Career Planning Dighton Spooner, who assisted Barish and Oppenheim in crafting their proposal.
"I was impressed from our first meeting with their diligence, focus and vision. Their project is a perfect example of social entrepreneurship and will help improve the quality of life for the people of Cusco, Peru. The grant will also give them significant experience as they pursue their professional interests in medicine."
Philanthropist Kathryn Wasserman Davis, on the occasion of her 100th birthday, established the new program with a donation of one million dollars so that each of the projects will receive $10,000.
The objective of the program is to encourage and support motivated youth to create and implement their ideas for building peace throughout the world in the 21st century.
The winning projects propose specific plans of action that will have lasting effects — from youth empowerment and education programs to improve community water supplies worldwide, to a multitude of agrarian enterprises in countries where famine is pervasive.
Students will travel to more than 40 countries over the summer to implement their projects and report on their experiences once they return.