Palestinian student Malek Salhab establishes organization that provides medical supplies to countries in need
By Kathya Mendez, Staff Writer
United2Heal is a non-profit organization and humanitarian aid charity that collects excess medical supplies from local hospitals and clinics and ship them internationally to countries in need around the world, including Syria, Chile, Egypt, Haiti and many more. United2Heal is a new organization at Mason’s campus with other chapters across the nation, such as University of Michigan, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Virginia, University of Richmond.
Malek Salhab is a Palestinian freshman majoring in Neuroscience and the founder of the new chapter at Mason. Salhab received a full ride scholarship to Mason. He was born in the United States but moved back to Palestine with his parents when he was 9 years old.
Growing up in Palestine, he faced struggles from injustice in the Israel-Palestine conflict to personal achievement and growth. “Living in Palestine there is an animosity. Everyone hates each other and everyone is fighting, Palestinians and Israelis. It really becomes ingrained within the individual.”
Salhab continued to describe what he experienced, “I saw how the infrastructure was completely undermined. Everything there, the infrastructure, cleanliness, modern supplies, professionalism [was undermined]. It wasn’t necessarily the experience or the professionalism of the doctors or the staff it was just that they didn’t receive funding, they were deprived of resources.”
The medical infrastructure in Palestine is poverty-stricken. Therefore, Salhab decided to take the initiative to become a doctor. His goal is to go back to Palestine when he is ready to spread the knowledge and experience he has obtained from school and United2Heal.
Mason’s United2Heal chapter was established in the fall semester of 2017, where many Mason students were interested in the medical field and helping medical infrastructure in the U.S and abroad, which made this organization a way to help underprivileged areas across the world.
“People donating their time is more important than donating their money. If they are able to help us with the shipments and the packing that would be the biggest help.”
They organize fundraisers to gather money and send the shipments overseas. Once these medical supplies have been shipped, they try to send people to see the hospitals and interact with locals. This nonprofit organization continues to open up and spread awareness for more people to get involved.
Overall, collecting excess medical supplies is a win-win situation for hospitals to get rid of excess supplies without paying disposal or landfill fees. Meanwhile, United2Heal members take the opportunity to give back to communities in need, knowing that a large shipment is at least few thousand to a million dollars worth of supplies.
“A lot of the time it doesn’t take much to invest, but if you do invest in it, it pays off once you devote time and effort, you are able to take one idea and make it that good into the community and eventually you get a lot of people knowing about it and make a change” said Salhab.
United2Heal is a means for Malek Salhab and other Patriots can express themselves through science and to spread change and awareness.