Most first-year students take a semester or two to acclimate to college life. Haroon Lughmani was ready to make a difference right away.
Lughmani, a freshman biology student from Sylvania, rebooted Humanity First, a student organization at UToledo that is a chapter of the larger, international human development organization in 62 countries. Humanity First helps millions of people by alleviating poverty, improving standards of living, refining health resources and promoting quality education to vulnerable communities through their various programs.
Lughmani started his involvement in Humanity First in high school when he helped forge The Education Project, a program virtually connecting volunteer tutors with students in underserved areas. So far, 450 students have been served nationally through this program. Once he began classes in fall, he learned that the UToledo chapter was dormant and was anxious to activate it again.
“I already was involved in Humanity First,” he said, “but I wanted to create a sense of community amongst my fellow Toledoans and transform our common empathy into tangible efforts.
“Alone, I may only make one drop of change, but together, we can amplify our efforts to produce an ocean of change.”
The organization has already packed and donated 108 sandwiches to the Seagate Foodbank with 18 other members, and hosted a basketball fundraiser towards a West African water pump. This summer, Humanity First UToledo will travel to Guatemala to establish a rural medical camp and assist doctors with scribing, taking vitals, dental extractions and even helping run a pharmacy.
In preparation for this trip, Humanity First is collecting used eyeglasses in the area to provide sight to impoverished families in Guatemala.
“Over there, you see huge differences from America. We’re so used to the affluence and relative prosperity that we have,” Lughmani said. “Here, clinical malnutrition is in less than 1% of children. There, over half of the children who come in are malnourished.
“When meeting with patients in the camp,” he added, “you realize that many Guatemalans are deprived of the most basic medications for diabetes, heart disease and gastritis and are left to suffer — helping them is our obligation.”
When he was looking at colleges, Lughmani said he knew that UToledo could help him make a difference.
Aside from the opportunities he would have to get involved in research and to be mentored by professionals at The University of Toledo Medical Center during his undergrad years, Lughmani also was awarded a full ride through the prestigious University of Toledo Presidential Scholarship.
Lughmani said he hopes that his experiences within Humanity First continue through college and after into medical school. Although he has a few years of school ahead of him, he’s interested in becoming a cardiologist.
“My life’s purpose is to submit to God and serve my fellow beings,” he said, “because I will be held accountable for my indifference to the pain of humanity.”