FAQ: Penn State HRB
What does HRB do besides the trip? As a club, HRB has focuses besides the trip. Meetings with the other GB groups on campus could include documentary showings, speakers, and critical discussions about the issues of poverty and development. We also do fundraisers such as canning and bake sales. We will also do other service opportunities, Spanish crash-courses, and cultural activities.
Can I be a member even if I'm not going on the trip? YES! Absolutely! Everyone is more than welcome to be a part of HRB and Global Brigades as a whole.
Do I have to be pre-law to be in HRB or go on the trip? No and no. People have many different reasons for being in the club or going to Panama-- everyone's welcome.
Can I go on the trip but not go to meetings (and vice versa)? Yes to both. Some meetings will be mandatory for volunteers only going on the trip, as all volunteers will have to be aware of some crucial information and preparations.
FAQ: Human Rights Brigades
What does HRB do? HRB, as a part of Global Brigades, connects Panamanian lawyers, college students, and rural communities. Some community members have never met a lawyer and are sometimes not even aware of their legal needs. Through free legal clinics and capacity-building workshops, HRB empowers communities and allows them to access legal resources.
Why is Human Rights Brigades important? Law Brigades is a part of the holistic model of GB. The other chapters are Architecture, Business, Dental, Environmental, Medical, Microfinance, Public Health, and Water. Access to legal education and counseling is crucial to a better quality of life. Common legal problems encountered include land rights, divorce, child support, and workers' rights. Some aspects of development, such as medical needs, are of a more urgent nature. However, legal education is part of long-term, sustainable development. Communities need all aspects of development to do well.
Where does Human Rights Brigades go? GLB travels to eastern Panama to the Darien province. It is very rural and far from Panama City, where most lawyers practice. Even if lawyers are in the area, their services are often too expensive for most community members.
FAQ: The Trip
When is the trip to Panama? Trip dates are March 9th to 15th, 2014. The summer trip has not yet been set-in-stone, but we will keep you updated on that!
How much do I have to fund raise to go on the Panama trip? There is a $790 contribution, plus the cost of air fare. Last year's trip donation was approximately $1450 total per person.
What does the contribution go towards? The in-country contribution, required by Global Brigades, covers: lodging, meals, in-country transportation, insurance, translators, lawyers, follow-up and research in the communities between brigades, and the CIF (community investment fund). None of your contribution pays GB's administrative costs.
Are donations tax-deductible? Yes, Global Brigades is a 501(c) non-profit organization.
Is my payment refundable? No. Only under the most unusual of circumstances will we consider refunds. You are not paying a "cost" for this. You are donating to a recognized non-profit. If you can no longer go on the trip, your donations will be donated to the overall mission of Global Brigades.
Will I need extra $ in Panama? Only if you want to buy souvenirs. Most things are fairly cheap in Panama, so don't bring too much cash with you. Vaccinations and transportation to/from the airport (such as a bus) will also cost extra.
What vaccinations will I need? The travel nurse at UHS will be able to cover this with you. However, UHS is sometimes overly-cautious. We recommend yellow fever, Hep A and B, and typhoid, along with malaria medications. If you cannot receive a vaccination for medical reasons, talk to a GB Adviser.
How do we get plane tickets? We book through Global Brigades OR as a whole club. This way, everyone pays the same price for air fare.
Where we will be staying? You will be staying in a compound away from the community. Beds and sheets are provided. There is typically running water in the compounds, but sometimes it runs out.
What will we eat/drink? All water is safe and provided by GB. Food is cooked by GB staff. If you have specific dietary restrictions, GB can cater to those.
Is it safe? Yes. Your safety is GB's top priority. Last year we had several police officers follow us and stay at the lodging. The area of Panama in which we work is very safe.
Do I need to know Spanish? Absolutely not, although it's very helpful!
Can I get credit for this? Maybe. Ask your department; you may be able to set up an independent study. This is NOT a study abroad program-- it is a volunteer opportunity.
I'm from another school but want to go on the brigade! We would love to have you along! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.