A Roslyn High School sophomore is helping underprivileged people in Africa by collecting the unlikeliest of items: used medicine bottles.
Matthew Berman, 16, launched a campaign to collect bottles and send them to physicians and pharmacies in Malawi, where he said resources are so scarce that doctors wrap prescription pills in scrap paper or place them in patients’ hands.
More than 200 used bottles were collected as of late March, and the effort is continuing until the end of April. The bottles will be provided to the nonprofit Malawi Project.
“I’ve always been interested in medicine and health care, which is where the idea for this project stemmed from,” Berman said. “Spring cleaning is not just a time for cleaning out houses. Medicine cabinet clean-outs are just as important and commonly forgotten about.”
To launch the effort, Berman was chosen to receive a Young Activist Grant, worth $500, from the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island. He placed collection bins at the society’s Garden City headquarters and the Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center and Harbor Hill Pharmacy, both in East Hills.
Berman also debates on his school’s forensics team, plays trumpet and is a member of the junior-varsity volleyball team. He is on the board of B’nai B’rith Youth Organization for four local high schools.