UCI News

A helping heart

Graduating senior Manveet Thind finds a positive outlet during the pandemic by aiding impoverished communities in Mexico

by Eliza Partika, UCI | June 19, 2020
A helping heart
“I do believe that we’ll get through this together and, hopefully, come out of this pandemic as better human beings with a stronger sense of humanity,” says international studies major Manveet Thind, here analyzing survey data at her kitchen table. Courtesy of Manveet Thind

Graduating UCI senior and international studies major Manveet Thind landed a 10-week internship in March with Corazon Inc., a nonprofit that addresses the physical, educational, social and economic needs of poor families in six communities across Tecate and Tijuana, Mexico.

The goal is to understand poverty beyond material insecurity and – through surveys – learn whether Corazon’s efforts bring about significant socioeconomic changes for residents, particularly in their sanitation, education and health.

When pandemic-prompted stay-at-home orders halted Corazon’s home construction project, closed schools and suspended tutoring programs established by the organization, Thind took on the analysis of survey data.

She examines the GPAs of kindergarten to middle school students who were being tutored through Corazon and looks for improvements in income, health or overall quality of life among families living in houses built by the nonprofit.

Data compiled by Thind in impact reports helps determine whether existing programs have the potential to alter cycles of poverty.

“Discovering these trends will further understanding of global poverty,” she says. “Attempting to help those in need is trial-and-error, but I believe that analyzing the data will help us serve the unique needs of these communities.” 

Thind grew up in Bakersfield in a low-income Sikh community. Her parents are from Punjab, India, she says, and “have always reiterated the plight of the poor. I recently took Professor [Richard] Matthew’s global poverty class, and I believe it really reinvigorated my interest in global poverty and the multitude of ways it affects populations.”

Throughout the coronavirus crisis, Thind has viewed the Corazon project as a way to stay positive.

“I think it’s important to see the rising compassion among people,” she says. “While we’re still figuring out the best ways to assist these families in Mexico during this troubling time, I do believe that we’ll get through this together and, hopefully, come out of this pandemic as better human beings with a stronger sense of humanity.”