By: Emily Windram
Special to the Chronicle
Sophomore Zachary Burbano has one mission: to bring medical care to impoverished people in Central and South America. Following in the footsteps of his ambitious father, Galo Burbano, Zachary is the president of Hofstra’s chapter of Blanca’s House.
The non-profit group goes on three to six missions a year, and employs both medical and non-medical volunteers to help in performing surgery, providing screenings and bringing desperately needed supplies. Zachary’s father founded Blanca’s House due to the inspiring care his mother gave to people in their home in Ecuador.
“This really is my father’s and my passion,” said the psychology/pre-med major, who aspires to be a surgeon. “We share a mutual desire to help those in need. My father is the most selfless person I know, and he truly has the kindest heart.”
Since 2011, Zachary has also been the junior volunteer coordinator for Blanca’s House, which means he is responsible for properly informing volunteers ages 16-24 about the mission conditions they should expect. The on-campus club is only two months old, and he hopes to raise enough funds for future long-term projects. His next mission is to build an operating room in “La Clinica” in Guayaquil, Ecuador, during a weeklong excursion in July.
“The difficulty with this kind of project is that the demands are so high, people are almost afraid to give money because they feel it is insignificant,” Zachary explains. “My main fundraising tactic is getting people to help, and having them send out letters and fundraise on their own.”
In addition to the four trips Zachary has taken for Blanca’s House so far, he is a member and leader of the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship club. He also does mission work for a church near his home on Eastern Long Island. He works with the church to help rebuild areas of the US that have been ravaged my natural disasters. With the creation of the Hofstra chapter of Blanca’s House, he was able to combine these passions for medical care and humanitarianism.
“We love the feeling of helping, and we don't care about recognition,” Zachary said. “The happy faces and thanks we get for drastically changing people's circumstances is plenty reward for me. What's better is that per trip, we service around 500 patients, so you can imagine how many faces I get to see within a week's span... and I love every second of it.”
Anyone who wants to learn about the club and participate in life-changing missions can contact Zachary at firstname.lastname@example.org.