Nonprofit run by Emory grads provides service here and abroad

In 2006, Zain Ahmed, a senior at Emory, spent two weeks in Guatemala to help build a women’s center in the village of Calhuitz.Rain stalled the work and the center never got built. Before leaving, Ahmed took part in a town hall meeting that allowed the residents to list what issues needed the most attention in the small village near the Mexican border.

“The top three things were health, education and economic development,” said Ahmed, who is in medical school at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. After returning to Atlanta, Ahmed created a student organization called Global H.E.E.D., where the acronym stood for the three pertinent issues to this area.

Along with working in Guatemala, Global H.E.E.D works within the community to apply the effort at home. “Through the Atlanta chapter, we hosted an International Water Day to raise awareness about water-related issues in our community,” said Brenda Chew, a senior at Emory University and president of the Global H.E.E.D. Emory chapter. “Additionally, we work with the Latin American Association to help members practice their English and will work with the consulate by providing blood pressure screenings.”

Sonny Bandyopadhay, Chief Operation Officer of Global H.E.E.D added, “We definitely want to get more schools and people involved at the local level whether it is through fundraising or directly getting involved with community issues.” Currently, the organization will send 23 interns to Guatemala in July to observe and assist with deliveries, vaccinations and more.

In 2008, the student organization turned into a nonprofit which expanded to campuses such as University of California at Berkeley, Brown University, University of Connecticut, Stanford University and more. Through these campuses, the organization has sent over 70 interns to Guatemala to take part in building health care clinics, schools and engage the community in matters such as health education and micro-financing.

To volunteer with Global H.E.E.D., visit

In Other News: The Bennett Thrasher Foundation, of Atlanta's CPA firm Bennett Thrasher, provided a grant to the Special Olympics Georgia Chapter to assist with the expenses to send four deserving athletes to participate in the Special Olympics World Games being held in Athens, Greece. Chris Currere and Daniel Hester will compete in Power Lifting while Erin Hoffman and Paul Partus will compete in Aquatics during the competition which ran from June 25 to July 4.


Stephen Benz (front from left), Global H.E.E.D. Founder Zain Ahmed (back), Ankush Sharma, Gina Kong (front, right), with locals in Calhuitz, Guatemala, dedicated two weeks to build a women’s center in Calhuitz, Guatemala through the efforts of Global H.E.E.D. The nonprofit organization engages university students to take part in community disparities of health, education and economic development in Guatemala and Nepal. Courtesy of Global H.E.E.D.