SUKHMEET Singh Sachal, a second-year medical student at the University of British Columbia, is one of two Canadians among 38 youth worldwide to have received funding from the Clinton Foundation to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
As many as 1,400 youth from all over the world had applied to the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) COVID-19 Student Action Fund and after much scrutiny, 38 projects were selected.
Sukhmeet has committed to implementing public health interventions at Sikh temples in British Columbia to protect elderly patrons and the general public. The idea is to create awareness amongst the temple devotees especially the elders about the need for taking precautions during this pandemic. This grant will be used to educate the people about the need to wear masks regularly and use proper hygiene to remain safe. In collaboration with some of the gurdwaras, regular health monitoring will be done and the temple volunteers and staff will be educated to maintain proper health procedures.
Working within the CGI U Commitment to Action model, this fund is geared towards 38 innovative social impact projects addressing the public health, economic and societal impacts of the novel coronavirus — with commitments including infectious disease monitoring and response systems; social enterprises; awareness and prevention campaigns; and other emergency response initiatives to provide immediate support for public health practitioners and other essential workers on the frontlines.
The fund provides $100,000 in total to select students at universities around the world, with each grant awarded ranging up to $5,000. The Action Fund was first announced by former U.S. President Bill Clinton during the 2020 CGI U At Home virtual event, which featured conversations with national and international government and public health leaders.
These projects are made through CGI U’s “Commitment to Action” model, pioneered by Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in 2005. From 2005 through 2016, more than 3,600 commitments were made through CGI which have improved the lives of over 435 million people worldwide.
In addition to receiving seed funding from the Action Fund for their commitments, all selected students who are new to the CGI U program will receive invitations to participate in CGI U 2021. With a network of 10,000 alumni from more than 1,100 schools, 160 countries, and all 50 U.S. states, CGI U students have made more than 7,000 Commitments to Action, positively impacting their hometowns, their college campuses, and communities around the globe.
Furthermore, Sukhmeet is working on another project known as Translation4OurNations with Harvard Medical Student Victor Lopez-Carmen, University of Toronto Public Health Graduates Thilaxcy Yohathasan and Sterling Kathleen, and youth from around the world to translate COVID-19 information into over 130 local Indigenous languages from across the world. This is in collaboration with the UN Youth Envoy, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), and the UN Global Indigenous Youth Caucus (GIYC).