Anahita Pardiwalla, Fatima Puri, Shannon Smith
With hundreds of student-run humanitarian groups at the University of Texas to choose from, Irenla Bajrovic did not think she’d have trouble finding one that would be willing to help a cause close to her heart. Bajrovic, a natural-born Bosnian, wanted to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Bosnian genocide by organizing a fundraiser. She did not anticipate finding her answer in the merely days old organization, Humanity First.
Coordinating a fundraising dinner is a feat for any organization, never mind a newborn one with just six members. Yet, founder and executive director, Usama Malik, was eager for Humanity First to make its grand debut. About $10,000 later, Malik and his peers were excited about the future of their new Texas Chapter.
A year later, 102 members stronger and with numerous successful events under its belt, Humanity First is more confident than ever. Under its motto “serving mankind” the international organization promotes peace and provides aid to victims of natural disasters and human conflicts.
Malik, however, has tailored the Texas Chapter to stand for more than just the humanitarian relief drafted in their motto.
“One that provides a platform for other organizations and other students to accomplish similar goals,” said Malik.
Through this idea of diversifying the Texas Chapter, the organization has been able to work for a number of different causes—all outside the traditional realm of Humanity First’s mission statement.
These causes have ranged from fundraising for victims of domestic violence to raising awareness of childhood cancer, from feeding the homeless to volunteering at elderly rehabilitation centers. Most recently, the organization assembled hygienic kits for homeless veterans.
The group’s scope is wide and limitless; and members are proud to be a part of an international organization that still maintains a local focus.
“You’re touching someone’s life, and it doesn’t matter how big the scale is, as long as you’re helping someone,” said member Marina Khaled.
Upcoming events include a charity fashion show and a culture appreciation night. Learn more at http://www.humanityfirsttx.org/.
Humanity First has worked for numerous causes since its birth last spring. Check out a timeline of some of their past events here:
Learn more about the Humanity First – Texas Chapter in the video below. The members of Humanity First made hygiene kits for homeless veterans and are currently in production for a fashion show in partnership with Voices Against Violence.