To empower young adults – students and professionals – to create sustainable change for vulnerable communities in Latin America and Uganda through nonprofit service mission trips.
Creating sustainable projects in developing communities, while also offering volunteers the opportunity to engage in fun afternoon extracurricular activities that embrace the life, language, and culture of the places we visit. In Latin America, adventure is everywhere!
HOW WE VOLUNTEER
“Gracias” Global Health Trip’s (GGHTx) guiding principle under the auspices of co-founders Dr. Arash Hakhamian and Avi Kerendian, is to team up with local volunteer centers in developing areas to bring together the volunteers, donations, and necessary resources that local communities need, with an eye towards fostering self-sufficiency. We specifically choose to work closely with local partners:
Because, first, we value humility.
Understanding the local culture is a process; we help to provide the volunteers and assistance that the community wants.
And, second, our goal is to promote sustainability.
That is why we either join our partners’ existing projects i.e. ASSADE, or work with them to create new ones – with an eye toward communal independence.
“Gracias” Global Health Trips’ (GGHTx) most recent mission trip to Guatemala (2019).
GGHTx Leadership: Dr. Hakhamian, Avi Kerendian, Julio Chàvez
Dr. Arash Hakhamian
Co-founder and Medical Director, GGHTx
Co-founder and Program Director, GGHTx
Overseas nonprofitLiaison, GGHTx
Overseas nonprofit Liaison, GGHTx
Dr. Arash Hakhamian, DDS FICOI IADFE
Dr. Arash Hakhamian is the nonprofit co-founder and medical director of GGHTx.
A Doctor of Dental Surgery, Dr. Arash is an avid traveler, international lecturer, and global philanthropist who has volunteered with various medical missions and organizations for many years before helping establish GGHTx. As one of the only volunteer organizations exclusively for students and young professionals, Dr. Arash believes GGHTx was formed to allow young volunteers to travel around the world while also provide immediate medical and dental relief to the most underserved populations.
Dr. Arash explains, ”These incredible volunteer missions change both the lives of our participants and the patients they serve by allowing our young volunteers to experience various aspects of healthcare and medicine while providing a much needed service to the poorest individuals from 3rd world countries in Latin America.”
Dr. Arash is fluent in English, Spanish, and Persian.
Avi Kerendian, Prospective JD Candidate
Avi Kerendian is the nonprofit co-founder and program director of GGHTx.
Previously an EMT-B, Avi graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Biology and a concentration in Spanish from YU in New York, where he was also a part of the NCAA Fencing Team. Avi also participated at the prestigious Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) as an NE cancer-research intern in the Molecular & Pharmacology Dept under the auspices of physician-scientist, Dr. Blasberg MD at the renowned “Ronald Blasberg Lab,” training in multiple research-related specialties, where he used his skills to actively contribute towards two research projects that seek to reverse the progression of tumors in glioblastoma and breast cancer in terminal cancer patients.
Discovering that he had a great passion for helping serve others, Avi decided to help put his time and energy into helping create GGHTx to the global success it is today.
Avi is fluent in English, Hebrew, Persian and conversational in Spanish.
Julio Chàvez, B.Eng ASSADE
Julio Chàvez is the Latin American director of ASSADE and helps with the fostering of communal ties in the local villages GGHTx operates in.
Overseas liaison, Latin America.
Julio – by trade – is a civil engineer who has a deep love for helping people in any way he can. He is passionate about public health and creating change, which led him to become the director and project development manager for clinic ASSADE in Guatemala which, in partnership with DOCARE, is a clinic home to approximately 32,000 people, most of whom are indigenous farmers with very low incomes.
ASSADE, with the help of GGHTx, currently employs a full-time doctor and nurse, in addition to other health and support staff, and treats on average 30-45 patients per day – seventy percent of whom are women and children. In addition to caring for acute conditions, the staff increasingly focuses on preventive medicine to better avoid certain tragic outcomes that affect the population there.
Julio is fluent in English, Spanish, and various local indigenous tongues spoken only by few.
Kiyini Jimedine, Zidan Benevolence International
Kiyini Jimedine is a rural-based Community HIV Activist and the Executive Director of Zidan Benevolence International.
Overseas liaison, Uganda.
Jimedine started his volunteer efforts in 2006 since assuming a position with HIV HOPE International. A pioneer, he was among one of the founding partners of Project Abstinence Hope International and used his experience to help spearhead and direct Zidan Benevolence International, a leading Community Based Organization, that has now helped over 40 villages in Uganda.
His plan in partnering with GGHTx is
to expand services within a variety of rural communities throughout the Buikwe district to ensure access to EMTCT, HIV care, prevention, and treatment services. His approach is based on an evolving methodology towards increasing community involvement and in bridging the access gap of services that prevent mother to-child HIV transmission.
With the help and partnership of GGHTx, he hopes to continue his efforts in creating empowered communities rich in education, resources, and quality services that support those with HIV, while also preventing its continuance.