Fundraisers to help fight poverty

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Students walking through the West Mall on Monday saw a 10-foot-tall sign with the word “Poverty” written on it. Members of a student group meant to reduce world hunger encouraged people walking by to throw water balloons at the sign and eventually reveal the message beneath: “Nourish.” The UT chapter of Nourish International hosted the event to kick off a week of fundraisers to raise money for the group’s future projects. “The injustices we see in a lot of impoverished countries are circular,” said Pallavi Garg, the group’s executive officer. “There are diseases such as Malaria, HIV, [as well as] lack of education and clean water that impede people from saving enough money to send their children to school and consequently modern day slavery becomes reality.” Today, the club will bring in local Austin bands to play for students. The group will host a barbecue lunch on Wednesday in the Union, a casino night on Thursday and a movie social on Friday. Garg said the club hopes to raise about $2,000 this week through food sales on Tuesday and Wednesday and ticket sales for Thursday. All of the money will go directly to funding the club’s projects, such as humanitarian trips to other countries. Locally, students in the club volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and Heart House. “We send students abroad to implement sustainable development projects every summer,” Garg said. “This summer, we will be helping a group of widowed women establish an orchard and produce company in Cameroon. This is especially important because without us, they are not allowed to own land themselves.” Students will also go to Peru, where they will build an elementary school and educate children about nutrition. Tyler Joyner, the club’s human resources director, said the group hopes to have as much impact as possible with the amount of time and money put into the projects. He said student volunteers pay for their own living expenses and money from the fundraisers will go directly to purchasing building materials for the trips. “Our goal is to go in with a team of students and start and complete a project that is substantial,” Joyner said. Human biology sophomore Ruchi Shah had never heard of the organization before going to the booth. “Every day on the news we see pictures of people in poverty throughout the world,” Shah said. “It’s definitely an important issue to address.” --- Nourish Fundraisers: Tuesday: Striking the Chord Main Mall - 7 to 11 p.m. - Local bands from Austin will play for students. The event is free and food will be available for purchase. Wednesday: Hunger Lunch West Mall - 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. - There will be barbecue for students. Thursday: Casino Night SAC Ballroom - 7 to 11 p.m. - The organization’s second Casino Night will include food and games. Friday: Movie Social - 7 to 10 p.m. - MEZ B0.306 -The week’s events will end with a movie and free food.