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UAlbany's Third World Impact Helps One Person at a Time

UAlbany's nationally-recognized student group Third World Impact is raising funds to build a school in Kagoma Gate Village, Uganda, home of "The Forgotten People." (Photos, courtesy of Third World Impact)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Dec. 6, 2011) -- Third World Impact (TWI), a nationally-recognized community service group of some 110 University at Albany students, has pledged to raise $100,000 in the Spring 2012 semester to build a second school in Uganda, as well as a dormitory to house UAlbany students who will one day volunteer as teachers at the school. TWI President Nishtha Modi, a double major in chemistry and biology from Woodside, Queens, said the group is combining giving to the local community during the holidays with a long range vision of reaching out to help others around the globe.

Third World Impact President Nishtha Modi

Third World Impact President Nishtha Modi, a chemistry and biology major at UAlbany, has volunteered in Uganda two summers in a row.

Modi, who moved to the U.S. from India with her family, plans to one day design vaccines, especially for HIV prevention in Third World countries. She joined TWI as a freshman.

Third World Impact believes in helping one person at a time. And the end result is so amazing,” said Modi. “It’s the smallest things you do for other people that can change their day and, eventually, can change their life.”

The group has a full schedule of giving this holiday season that includes decorating St. Margaret’s Center for children with disabilities, collecting winter coats and clothes for refugees at the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, and joining other groups at a basketball game to raise money for famine victims in East Africa. The group will also be delivering toys to St. Margaret’s Center later in the month.

This past summer the group broke ground on a preschool in Wairaka, Uganda, for orphans and children with HIV. Many of the children became orphans because their parents died of AIDS. Each child is sponsored by people in the U.S., so the cost of their school fees and medication is covered.

The second school will be built in Kagoma Gate Village, home of “The Forgotten People,” 800 adults and 200 children who have no school, one polluted well, and no bathroom facilities. By joining with The Giving Circle of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., TWI is planning to address the need in this village, among the poorest in Uganda.

TWI and The Giving Circle are in Uganda courtesy of their first-place showing in the Newman’s Own Foundation national campus community service challenge. The two groups partnered to win $25,000 to build a school in Wairaka, a small village near Jinja. That school is under construction and will be finished by the end of 2012.

So the first step in Kagoma Gate Village will be to build 14 toilets, then a playground for the children.

“It keeps the project going because the children can play on the swings and forget about their struggle for survival for a while,” said Modi. After that, TWI will build a Ugandan government school for children from kindergarten through about the sixth grade.

“Third World Impact gets the word out about these projects, and will raise money and actually make these projects come to life,” said Modi, who plans on going to medical school after her graduation from UAlbany in May 2012. “Going to Uganda as I did two summers in a row makes me realize how much research we need to do,” she said. “There are a lot of medicines that are available in the U.S. However, the same vaccine can’t work in a Third World country because it must be stored at certain temperatures.” Her goal is to find new ways to make vaccines available to developing nations.

Students who volunteer with Third World Impact can gain community service credit. Building schools in Uganda is just one of the ways University at Albany students, faculty and staff make a World of Difference.


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