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September 29, 2022

World Health Council hosts cultural banquet

By SARI AMIEL | November 21, 2013

On Thursday, the Glass Pavilion was filled with international music and flavors, as the World Health Council raised funds for a charity that brings drinkable water to developing countries.

This was the first time that the Council, which was founded last year, held a World Health Banquet.

“I wanted to have an event where all the cultural groups and health groups came together,” said club president Aleesha Shaik.

According to Shaik, the Council hosted three cultural groups, South Asian Students at Hopkins (SASH), Hopkins Ethiopian and Eritrean Society (HEES) and the Black Student Union (BSU), three health-related groups, Preventative Education Empowerment Peers (PEEPS), the College Diabetes Network and Engineering World Health and three entertainment groups, Temps d’Afrique, Notes of Ranvier and Stop! Look at Me (SLAM).

Attendees of the event paid for their dinners as they entered the Glass Pavilion, with the funds going toward a group called “Charity: Water.” At the start of the evening, the Council aired a video about the problems related to clean water shortages. The video noted that many women walk three hours to get unsanitary water on a daily basis, and outlined what “Charity: Water” is doing to address this problem.

Freshman Erica Schwartz, a member of World Health Council, attended the banquet. She is also currently on the Council’s publicity committee.

“Global health was something that really interested me and that I care about,” she said.

At the event, she was looking forward to seeing how the various entertainment groups would relate their performances to the theme of world health.

At the back of the room were posters, created by some of the health and cultural groups, that displayed facts about clean water. One group had an interactive activity, which involved matching up various statistics with facts regarding domestic abuse. Another poster described health disparities for African Americans in the U.S., while HEES had a poster that described health policies in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

“This event is good because it does publicize a lot of these [health] issues,” said HEES president and junior Samuel Kebede.

This is the first World Health Council event that HEES was involved in, but Kebede enjoyed it and is open to being involved in more such events in the future.

After the attendees learned facts about international public health, the Council served food that was obtained from several local businesses, including Indigma and Salsa Grill.

After describing their mission to raise money for “Charity: Water,” officers of the World Health Council conducted a raffle and awarded the winners reusable water bottles. Temps d’Afrique, a dance group based on African and Caribbean themes, performed next, followed by Notes of Ranvier, an a capella group and SLAM, a hip hop group.

Senior Mani Keita, a captain of Temps d’Afrique, was involved in the performance, along with eight members of the 17-member dance team. Rather than preparing a dance for this particular occasion, the group performed some of the dances that it had choreographed earlier in the semester.

“We support world health, and it’s a charity event for water, and being an African dance team ... we’re quite familiar with the health disparities that affect the African diaspora,” said Keita.

She was most looking forward to sampling dishes from different countries but ended up enjoying a different part of the event more.

“My favorite part was that video they showed in the beginning,” said Keita. “It was a comprehensive video that appealed aesthetically.”

Some of the students who attended the World Health Banquet were not members of the many groups that were involved in the event.

Junior Kidist Katema came because one of her friends was a member of the World Health Council.

“I thought it was a good charity event,” said Katema. “The money was going to a good cause.”

Planning this event required contacting the groups that were involved, which posed a challenge for members of the World Health Council.

“It was sometimes difficult to get people to respond quickly, so we didn’t get a chance to finalize all the groups until this past weekend,” Shaik said. “We also wanted performing groups from different regions of the world and different dance styles.”

However, Shaik knew this would be a difficulty, since nine groups were involved in the event. Once the groups had responded, Shaik also had to advertise the event and obtain food.

“We decided that we wanted food from different cultures because it’s a global event so we just called around [at] a bunch of places ... and then we just picked the best deals,” she said.

After the event, Shaik said she was considering having a similar banquet next semester. She might also organize another Water Walk next semester. In this fall’s Water Walk, students were given a reusable water bottle if they carried a gallon of water on their heads around the freshman quad, to model how women and children carry water in impoverished areas of the world.

“[The Water Walk] was actually really successful, more successful than I ever thought it would be,” said Shaik.

This semester during reading period, Shaik is teaming up with Circle K, a community service group, to air a documentary called “Girl Rising,” which is about the importance of educating women around the world.

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