$1 = 1 day of life
It all started with a phone call. I had always been passionate about helping others, but when I first talked to Dr. Nandita Sugandhi, I realized that I needed to turn my passion into action. The catalyst was small clinic called Maipelo run by Dr. Diana Dickinson in Gaborone, Botswana that provides life-saving medication to HIV-positive children and their families. What made this clinic special was that it shouldn’t exist. Since 2002, Botswana has largely provided all of its citizens with free HIV treatment. However, the hundreds of thousands of migrants living in Botswana are excluded from receiving this care because they are non-citizens.
Nandita’s story brought to light an entire group impacted by that often goes overlooked: marginalized populations such as undocumented migrants that are often excluded from national treatment programs. Though providing life-saving treatment can cost as little as $1 a day, this treatment would remain inaccessible without the compassion and generosity of Maipelo supporters, who donate both their time and money to ensure equity in access to HIV care and treatment.
After hearing more about Maipelo, I decided that I had to take action. On Christmas Day 2011, I founded Cover the Globe with the goal of bringing medical treatment and coverage to marginalized populations around the world. Though I was only a college sophomore at the time, I believed that anyone could help make the world a better place. I also enlisted the help of my friend Adam, and thankfully he agreed. Together we set off to build Cover the Globe, and so far we have provided thousands of days of life to Maipelo patients. Still, we hope that this is only the beginning, and that Cover the Globe will continue to expand its reach to marginalized patients around the world.
If I’ve learned anything over the past few years, it’s that anyone really can make a difference. Simple acts like cleaning the loose change from your couch, eating in, and taking the subway instead of a cab can add up to longer, healthier lives for patients like the refugee children and their families at Maipelo. And if we all chipped in, the impact would be enormous. If you would like to join us in supporting marginalized HIV+ populations, we welcome your support. You’ve already taken action by reading our story. Let’s keep working together to provide equitable treatment to those who need it most.