Squads Abroad is a 501c3 non-profit organization under our parent company Global Brigades, a Platinum Level Guidestar member for Financial Transparency. Since 2004, our organization has collectively mobilized more than 70,000 international volunteers to help resolve global health and economic disparities around the world.

In the News

Transforming Volunteer Experiences into a Meaningful Career: An Interview with Radhika Prabhu

Transforming Volunteer Experiences into a Meaningful Career: An Interview with Radhika Prabhu

Written by Marketing Intern, Ashley Farhat

Published March 15th, 2021

Volunteering was the impetus for me to pursue a career in international developmentThe whole adventure was due to strong women who gave me their complete and unconditional support!” – Radhika Prabhu

 

International Women’s Day 2021

International Women’s Day commemorates the many social, economic, cultural, and political achievements women have constructed globally and celebrates the progression of gender equality.

To honor IWD 2021, we spoke to Radhika Prabhu, one woman who has utilized her career to create meaningful impact for women internationally. Radhika holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Boston College and a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

She currently serves as Executive Director of the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council at the U.S. Department of State. This position allows Radhika to work in conjunction with the private sector, civil society, and government officials in both the U.S. and Pakistan in an effort to advance women’s economic inclusion and reduce economical barriers to women in Pakistan.

The Squads Abroad team became better acquainted with Radhika and her work during our partner organization’s GB Week 2021 celebration, during which she served as our keynote speaker.

 

Radhika Prabhu, Executive Director of the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council at the U.S. Department of State.

Volunteering in College

Similar to Squads Abroad student volunteers, Radhika’s volunteering experiences aided her tremendously to discover a passion to make sustainable impact both locally and internationally.

Through Radhika’s personal and ambitious endeavors, her network of hardworking and successful women in college encouraged her to develop a passion for creating sustainable impact in international development through volunteer work.

Did you have any volunteer experiences in college that led you to your career today?

Volunteering was the impetus for me to pursue a career in international development! The then Chairwoman for a global non-profit, the Art of Living Foundation, was aware of work I had done through the Foundation in partnership with communities in Mexico, and she suggested I connect with an acquaintance who happened to be Mexico’s Minister for Youth and the Environment to discuss my vision. I was a junior in college and I will be eternally grateful to Shirley for her faith in me.

The Art of Living Foundation is an international volunteer-based, non-profit organization dedicated to creating a violence-free society. Radhika utilized connections within her network to build upon a plethora of volunteer opportunities during her college years, ultimately leading her to her volunteer journey with Art of Living.

I reached out to the then Minister to explain my interests and she invited me to meet her. A few weeks later, during my spring break, I found myself traveling to Mexico, sitting across from the Minister to explain the organization’s work and my vision. The Minister was a visionary and introduced me to incredible leaders – in academia, non-profits, communities, government institutions, artists, and grassroots activists. They all helped pave the way for years of development work conducted through Art of Living in the country.

 

 

A local staff member and a volunteer in conversation during a 2017 Leadership institute.Radhika was able to turn her newly found inspiration into sustainable action through her connection to Mexico’s Minister for Youth and the Environment by expressing her vision for progressive change. Radhika’s apparent passion allowed her to turn her ideas into actions.

Through a girlfriend who worked at the World Bank, I became aware of grant opportunities for community development and applied. I was subsequently awarded funding through the World Bank’s Youth Innovation Award and the World Development Report Grant to pursue a dream of engaging young people to be stewards of sustainable development.

It was through these efforts that I learned how to manage programs and teams, translate my ideas into impact, and work with governments and corporations. It also led to me working for the Foundation to steward similar efforts across the United States and Canada. My mom was my constant companion throughout this time and both my parents gave me their undying support.

Radhika’s volunteer work ultimately enabled her passion for sustainable international development and allowed her to build upon and expand her skill-set. She denotes her early volunteer experiences to be the foundation of her current achievements.

These experiences propelled me to pursue my graduate degree at Georgetown and pursue a career in international development. The whole adventure was due to strong women who gave me their complete and unconditional support!

 

A student volunteer walking with an elderly community member during a Global Health Squad.

 

Global Citizenship

At Squads Abroad, we encourage student volunteers to become Global Citizens through empowering communities and reducing inequalities in health, business, engineering, water, dental, and legal entities in an effort to incite sustainable impact. Below, Radhika discusses how she defines Global Citizenship.

What does the term “Global Citizen” mean to you?

Thriving. It is being proud of where you come from while appreciating and drawing wisdom from every tradition and culture in the world. In the Vaidic tradition, which my family follows, it is an idea known as “Vasudaiva Kutumbhakam”, or one world family. It’s an ancient but ever relevant recognition that we are all connected.

In 2019, Radhika was named an AAPI American National Security and Foreign Policy Next Generation Leader by New America and the Diversity in National Security Network. Radhika, alongside her peer professionals, continues to develop a footing for volunteers and future generations to initiate lasting and meaningful impact from a global standpoint.

Through coordinating an inspired team across both the United States and Pakistan, her work aims to increase and improve upon opportunities for women within the Pakistani economy. To learn more about Radhika and her work as an Executive Director for the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council at the U.S. Department of State visit https://www.state.gov/biographies-u-s-pakistan-womens-council/.

 

The Boulder Country Soccer Team poses for a picture during their 2018 Brigade in Costa Rica.

 

Become a Global Citizen

Squads Abroad offers meaningful volunteer experiences, both in-person and virtually, for students interested in pursuing careers in Medicine, Engineering, and Business. To start your path toward becoming a Global Citizen like Radhiku Prabhu, visit our website to learn more about our programs!

Bigger Family, Bigger Impact: Meet Global Brigades!

Bigger Family, Bigger Impact: Meet Global Brigades!

They say family gives you the roots to stand tall and strong; Let us be the first to introduce you to our older sibling Global Brigades. With Global Brigades and Squads Abroad working together our Holistic Model is set to be more impactful than ever! Just like your family, our family shares some similarities but each organization retains our own unique characteristics. In 2018, we were brought into the Global Brigades family to expand our volunteer base with high school students and further round out GB’s Holistic Model. Over the last year, we’ve worked together to adapt our programming to fit into the Holistic Model and from a volunteer perspective, this created an opportunity to level-up our high school volunteers’  future opportunities to do more sophisticated development work through Global Brigades when they eventually graduate and begin attending a university! Global Brigades has given Squads Abroad a larger infrastructure to scale operations and make a deeper impact through community development!

Top 3 Differences Between Squads Abroad and Global Brigades

We bet you’re wondering, what are the differences between Squads Abroad and Global Brigades if they are part of the same organization? Not to worry, we are here to clarify! Check out the 3 key differences between the two!

 

  • University vs. High School While both programs offer the incredible opportunity to empower under-resourced communities abroad, the main difference is that Global Brigades offers programs to university students while Squads Abroad offers programs to high school students. Squads are comprised of high school students and the faculty members that lead them who mobilize abroad for positive social change. Since 2005, collectively with Squads Abroad, we have mobilized more than 80,000 university and high school volunteers as one of the largest empowerment initiatives.

 

  • Cultural Enrichment One of the most unique aspects of Squads Abroad is the cultural immersion component to all their programs. Each skill-based program offers unique opportunities for students to elevate their cultural competency based on the unique community they work with. From traditional batik fabric dyeing in Ghana to cow-milking and cheese-making workshops in Costa Rica, each activity exposes students to a unique aspect of the country’s culture. In participating in these activities, high school students learn about the country’s history on a deeper level and have the chance to learn from and bond with local community members.

 

  • Independent Leadership While Squads Abroad’s supplementary focuses on cultural competence,  Global Brigades’ programs support independent leadership. This means Global Brigades volunteers get to deepen their understanding of international development from our strongest local community leaders and staff members. Global Brigades even offers Student Leadership Conferences and Global Leadership Institutes which focus on bringing together leaders to experience the Holistic Model and think critically about volunteering abroad.

 

Behind The Scenes with the Holistic Model

The Holistic Model is how we meet a community’s health and economic goals. This model demonstrates how each squad and brigade type are a part of a larger movement of volunteers and year-round development work that helps break the cycle of poverty. 

The Holistic Model graphic demonstrates how our three broader programmatic focus areas: Sustainable Health Systems, Economic Development and Water & Sanitation Infrastructure systematically work together. Previous versions of the model were presented in a linear order, but it is more dynamic than that! We begin partnering with communities at different points in the model and some need more strengthening in one of these areas prior to beginning to work on others. 

The Holistic Model helps us actively engage with a community’s needs, helps the community form strong leadership and organization, and seeks to build a continuous partnership through the hard work of volunteers, staff, and community members. Us at Squads Abroad are excited to be part of it!

How Can You Get Involved

In college or at a university and interested in Global Brigades? Join an existing Chapter or start a new one as a President!

  • If our programs have peaked your interest, don’t hesitate to join an existing GB Chapter on your campus. By joining a Chapter you can learn more information about brigades and connect with our GB family right at your university. Are you more of a leader? Consider becoming a Chapter President and starting your own Chapter or joining a Leadership Institute where you can experience our programs up close and personal. To learn more about these unique opportunities click here!

 

In high school and interested in Squads Abroad? Are you a high school teacher? Lead a Squad or join a squad at your school

  • Join our squad! If you’re interested in leading a group of high school students on an experience they’ll never forget click here to learn how. Are you a high school student who’s interested in joining a squad? Talk to your instructor or coach and let them know that we offer programs that focus on health, education, or STEM so you can put all those skills you’ve learned in school to use! Share our website with your teacher and follow us on social media to see what we really do on a Squad!

 

Tell your community about Global Brigades and Squads Abroad

  • You may not be in high school or college, but we’re sure you know someone who is! Spread the word to your friends, family, and colleagues who you think may be interested in a unique opportunity to empower under-resourced communities abroad. You can send your friends a link to the Squads Abroad and Global Brigades websites or follow us on social media to stay up to date on all the latest GB events and news.

 

Need more info? Reach out!

 

  • If you’re on the fence about joining Squads Abroad or Global Brigades we can provide you with more information and help you decide which program is right for you. Contact us at info@squads.org or admin@globalbrigades.org for all inquiries.
Warum Dr. Normeshie nach Europa will | Why Dr. Normeshie Went to Europe

Warum Dr. Normeshie nach Europa will | Why Dr. Normeshie Went to Europe

Spiegel Online

In Ghana werden dringend Ärzte benötigt. Dennoch verlässt inzwischen jeder zweite nach der Ausbildung das Land – vor allem aus Frust über die schlechten medizinischen Bedingungen. Was könnte den Brain Drain stoppen?

Ghana urgently needs doctors. Nevertheless, every second person leaves the country after completing his training – mainly because of frustration over the poor medical conditions. What could stop the brain drain?

View Article

Volunteering abroad with Warwick Global Brigades

Volunteering abroad with Warwick Global Brigades

The Boar

Global Brigades is one of the best experiences one could ever have, and this is not a bold statement. The programme gives its participants the opportunity to use their technical skills to create an impact, while simultaneously immersing themselves in the culture and language of the country. This is just an addition to the core of what the Legal Empowerment Brigade and the Engineering Brigade in Honduras aim to achieve.

View Article

FSU students use resilience training for global impact

FSU students use resilience training for global impact

Florida State University News

One student who saw particular value in the training was Richard Brito, a senior majoring in psychology and minoring in public administration with intentions to earn his master’s degree in social work. In 2018, Brito, a student ambassador for FSU’s Student Resilience Project, brought Medical Brigades to FSU, a campus chapter of Global Brigades, the largest student nonprofit group dedicated to helping vulnerable communities worldwide.

“The work of Global Brigades is dynamic and important,” Brito said. “Teaching students about trauma and resilience through the Resilience Project and the professional certification helps us provide better services to the communities we serve on our trips abroad. It’s wonderful how the projects dovetail. They are like pieces of the same puzzle.”

Students in the Global Brigades program are trained throughout the academic year in preparation to travel abroad during the summer semester and help people with human necessities, such as access to water, building repairs, and health and small business education.

View Article

People celebrate cultural diversity at annual festival

People celebrate cultural diversity at annual festival

KSNB Local4

From traditional tacos from Mexico, to chicken and vegetables from China, to egg rolls from Vietnam, people tasted, and shared, food from all around the world at the festival.

At the Panama booth, people could try a breakfast medley of hot dogs, broccoli, rice and eggs. Students with the Global Medical Brigades said they ate that dish everyday when they were in Panama this year setting up clinics for people who needed healthcare.

“I think it’s important to talk about our differences, and coming together as a community. They say America’s a melting pot, but we don’t really know about other cultures when we’re sitting here,” said Hannah Langer, co-president of the Global Medical Brigades at Hastings College.

View Article

NJII Hosts Pop Up Health Clinic

The Vector

The New Jersey Innovation Institute is a not-for-profit “NJIT corporation focused on helping private enterprise discover what’s possible,” by sharing innovative ideas within the business’s respective sector to pursue new market opportunities, says Don Sebastian, the President of NJII. Generally, NJII’s work focuses on generating commercial success. Its Healthcare Division seeks to improve the quality and cost of health care, a task which has required much research and reflection on health care accessibility.

However, it was exactly this evaluation of the health care field that inspired and drove support for the pop-up clinic. NJII’s project manager, Inaceli Tubilleja, explained that NJII noted a “significant gap in healthcare access, access to healthcare data and a gap in health literacy.”

View Article

Through virtual or in-country programs, Squads are passionate groups of volunteers who mobilize abroad to create positive change. Each Squad type has a skill-based focus area that support the education, health and economic development objectives of community partners.
Squads are passionate groups of volunteers who mobilize abroad to create positive change. Each Squad type has a skill-based focus area that support the education, health and economic development objectives of community partners. Faculty choose their dates, duration (typically 1-2 weeks), and their site location from one of our six program countries.
Squads Abroad is a 501c3 non-profit organization under our parent company Global Brigades, a Platinum Level Guidestar member for Financial Transparency. Since 2004, our organization has collectively mobilized more than 70,000 international volunteers to help resolve global health and economic disparities around the world.