Help Peruvian TB Patients Start Microbusinesses

by GlobeMed at UChicago
May 28, 2013

ASPAT-Peru Begins to Select Patients, Facilitators

On behalf of everyone at GlobeMed at UChicago and ASPAT-Peru, we'd like to thank you for your continued support of our organization.  This report was not written by our project leader, Lauren Springett, but rather one of our newer members, who has worked hard communicating with ASPAT to bring this report to you.

Without further ado:

We’d like to thank all of you once more for donating to our program to help tuberculosis patients start microbusinesses.  ASPAT, our partner in Peru, does so much to support people who are affected by tuberculosis, both during and after their illness, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to fund this project.  This effort would be impossible without support from you, our wonderful donors.  The project is slated to begin in June, and will help fifteen TB survivors overcome the stigma and poverty associated with the disease.

We have sent about $5,000 to ASPAT of our $10,000 goal.  This money will be used to fund the business skills training program as well as to provide seed money for the microbusinesses.  We have to emphasize that this is an all-or-nothing project; if we don’t reach our goal, ASPAT will not be able to provide this training or support these microbusiness startups.  Melecio, the founder and head of ASPAT, has told us that a lot of candidates are very excited by this opportunity, so we can’t let them down!

Each summer, we choose a small group of students from our GlobeMed chapter to on the GROW (GrassRoots On-site Work) trip to visit ASPAT’s headquarters in Callao spend time with the staff and patients.  This is where they evaluate ASPAT’s needs and develop a project that makes an impact where it is needed most.  Our current project was developed during last year’s GROW trip, and it addresses the poverty that both results from TB and exacerbates its harm.

As we speak, the staff of ASPAT is in the process of hiring facilitators for the training program and choosing candidates.  The standards are very high for the participants.  From one hundred applicants, the staff of ASPAT will select fifteen people to receive training and support as they start their microbusinesses.  The participants should have desire and motivation.  They should be driven to succeed, and determined to make the most of this opportunity.  They must have the strength of character it takes to go from suffering from a debilitating disease to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Here again are the criteria for selecting the participants:

Larger Family Size

Strong Support System

Current Low Income Level

History of Reliability as Measured by Compliance to their Treatment Regimens

Melecio and his colleagues are also very closely vetting the facilitators.  Melecio told us that they must be equally motivated; this project should be a labor of love.  They have to be dependable, with a lot of integrity, and have no personal problems that could interfere with their jobs.  In addition, it is essential that the facilitators form close bonds with the program participants; they will be the participants’ primary support network, and will continue to support them and advise them after the program ends.

Once again, here is the outline for the implementation of this project:


2.1 and 2.2 Once patients are selected, they will begin to be trained according to the CEFE methodology. Their families will be incorporated into their training, to further improve the patients' support systems.  This training will have two modules: one will focus on the development of personal entrepreneurial characteristics and skills, and the second module will be strictly for the development of business management.

3.1 Members of ASPAT will assess the feasibility of implementing the patients' proposed microbusinesses.  Start-up loans will be provided to help with the implementation of feasible businesses.

3.2 ASPAT will continue to support the business by providing advertising and technical support to program graduates.

3.3 ASPAT will also provide advice to people affected by TB or their families in improving their business models if necessary.  In this phase, the members of ASPAT will be joined by some select students from GlobeMed at UChicago, who will evaluate the efficacy of the program and the probable sustainability of the microbusinesses.This year’s GROW team is working with students and faculty from the University of Chicago’s renowned economics department to establish metrics for tracking the success of this program, which will help us to improve and refine it in the future.

There is a reason that tuberculosis is so rarely fatal in the United States but can be so devastating in neighborhoods like Callao: poverty.  Anti-tuberculosis regimens are ineffective unless they are paired with balanced diets and plenty of rest from tuberculosis can take years and requires several months off work, which few families are able to manage.  Those who do take time off work often find themselves out of a job after they recover.  

Thank you for helping us to lift fifteen families out of this vicious cycle!  We look forward to your continued support.


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Organization Information

GlobeMed at UChicago

Location: Chicago, Illinois - USA
Website: http:/​/​​impact/​university-of-chicago/​
GlobeMed at UChicago
Project Leader:
Amanda Wiesler
Chicago, Illinois United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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