The Cola Road

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Cola Road Documentary alumni event

Written by Alex Farley (BA '13, Recreation and Business), Alumni Relations Programs Assistant

As the new Programs Assistant on the Alumni Relations team, and a recent graduate from UW, I am filled with pride when I hear about the great ideas that are changing the world involving our Alumni…not that I'm biased or anything.

Last night, we held an event in Ottawa where we offered an exclusive screening of the new documentary "The Cola Road," featuring the work of a fellow AHS Alumnus Rohit Ramchandani (BSc '04). He is Founder & Executive Director at Antara Global Health Awareness, and the Public Health Advisor & Principal Investigator for the Cola Life. Rohit has been a key player in advocating for the powerful idea of making the packaging of important medications fit between the Coca-Cola cases, and from there ensuring they reach some of the most remote areas of the world. They call these the Kit Yamoy, which translates into "Life-giving Kit".

Colalife's mission: providing access to things such as oral rehydration salts and Zinc, which are used to help with common illnesses in children like dehydration from diarrhea. "It's not often that something with the word diarrhea in it gets this much attention" says Rohit, as he address the crowd of almost 400 alumni, students and guests at The Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Any time I hear about ideas like this I always think to myself "how did they come up with that?!" So naturally, I was excited to be apart of the event in Ottawa, and to learn about the impact Colalife's work was making. Although this was not the first time Rohit and Claire Ward, the documentary's Directors, have worked with us to do a screening, we never grow tired of watching this story unfold on screen. The simplicity and brilliance of it is nothing short of amazing, and easily inspirational to all that were in the room.

And I must admit that was what I was looking forward to the most.  I truly believe that to see an act of good will encourage others to create their own acts of good. As Rohit discussed his relationship with Waterloo, and studies in public health he said "The idea of being able to improve the health of thousands, or even millions of people at a time excited me." It's just that simple and hard not to feel excited too! I love that the common connection among all of the guests at the event was having some type of affiliation with UW, and with that one can hope that a chain reaction (if you will) of positive change can occur.

As one guest said during the question and answer section, "What's next? That was great!" And just think – that's the mentality we are so fortunate to be taught while studying at this university.

Well, this concludes my first alumni blog writing adventure. I hope that by reading this and sharing in my experiences, you have felt inspired.   

To see what audience members and guests were saying check out our Storify!