Current Global Citizens Grant Recipients
Meghan Bellerose '17 spent the summer of 2014 working with UNiTED, a community based non-profit that seeks to provide health resources and education to children and young adults in Kpando, Ghana. In the mornings, Meghan led discussion groups for teenagers and young adults on health topics such as family planning, HIV/AIDS, condom use, blood contact, and female empowerment. She also worked closely with pregnant women in Kpando and nearby villages, providing information on the signs of a healthy pregnancy and discussing the health and financial resources available to the women and their children. In the afternoons, Meghan worked at HardtHaven Children's home, UNITED's shelter for children who have lost parents to HIV/AIDS or suffer from the disease themselves, helping with homework, daily activities, and health monitoring.
“I celebrated with the women who ran the home as we watched two of the children go through remarkable recoveries, sobbed when one of the older girls passed on, smiled with a little boy when he read an entire book out loud by himself, danced for hours to the Macarena with ten 5-11 year olds, and cheered when all 26 children passed their exams. All of these moments have changed me.”
Juliet Eyraud '16 will spend her summer in Phnom Penh, Cambodia working for Children for Change Cambodia as an English Teacher and Social Action Intern. Children for Change Cambodia serves children living in a red-light district of the city, offering them supplementary academic classes, school scholarships, emergency housing, and a supportive network of students and teachers. After volunteering at CCC during the summer of 2013, Juliet will return to their center to implement a self-designed curriculum intended to introduce students to service-learning, community development and place-based projects. Juliet hopes the curriculum, which she is developing through an Independent Study this semester with Professor Casey Meehan, will allow students to celebrate the positive elements of their neighborhoods while also brainstorming ways in which they can improve their communities and their futures.
"My plan was to implement a curriculum that I had worked on as an Independent Study at Bowdoin. The curriculum was designed to introduce the students to community service while also allowing them to celebrate their communities...The new community service program at the school is now being enveloped into a larger, sustainable structure that includes social action and using multimedia to promote social justice."
Oriana Farnham '15 spent the summer in Ho Chi Minh City (but most people she met there called it Saigon), Vietnam. Oriana volunteered at Little Rose Shelter, one of Saigon's few non-profit organizations, which is a home for girls who have been or are at risk of being sexually abused or trafficked. The girls were on summer break, so they spent the days doing crafts, singing, and learning to play ukulele. The shelter is a place where the girls can relax, but they also work on outreach in their community to educate young people about sexual health and raise awareness around the issues of domestic and sexual abuse.
“Though I have always been very interested in women’s issues in academic and other contexts, it is only after this summer that I know I want my career to be concerned with these issues. I met so many women this summer who inspired me…and I learned so much about the experiences of girls and women in Vietnamese society, which made me reflect on the experience of growing up female in Western society.”
This summer through a Harpswell Foundation Fellowship, June Guo '16 worked with the Harpswell Foundation in Phnom Phen, Cambodia. She taught English and held critical thinking workshops for college age women.
June's Global Citizen Grant will send her to a Tibetan Prefacture in China, where she will spend the summer of 2015 working with Sengcham Drukmo Girls’ Home. SDGH provides education, housing, nourishment, and medical care for Tibetan girls who been abandoned by their families. By working with SDGH, June hopes to help address the education gap between rural and urban China, between boys and girls in rural China, and between socioeconomic classes. June plans to teach English to Tibetan girls (grades 2-6), help tend to the school's gardens, and develop workshops on yoga and mindful
Jesse Ortiz '16 spent the summer of 2014 in Kathmandu, Nepal volunteering with Social Development Center Nepal (SDCN). SDCN is a children’s home, currently caring for fifteen children whose parents are unable to support them. The organization provides the food, housing, education and medical care that otherwise may not have been available to the children. Jesse also taught classes at Little Blossoms School, which most of the chilren of SDCN attended.
"I don't know what I want to do after college, but I'll carry the experience wherever I go. Any success I achieve or insight I discover for the rest of my life will carry some trace of that wonderful trip."
Meredith Outterson '17 worked this summer in the local school of a rural community in San Juan de la Concepcion, Nicaragua as part of La Mariposa Spanish School & EcoHotel's community development programs. Meredith lived with a host family and tutored kids in the mornings. She also ran after-school enrichment activities, and facilitated long-term school improvement projects, like revamping the preschool classroom and launching a program with educational tablets.
"Through this work, I got to know the fabric of the community, and got a sense of each of the vibrant threads that make it up. I had to be self-motivated, in order to finish the projects I had set for myself (like running a school field-trip to a volcano!) But, I also had the support of several amazing families in the community. And I am incredibly thankful that I got the opportunity to be there and live there for as long as I did."
David Silverman '15 spent the summer of 2014 working with the Amy Biehl Foundation, an education-based nonprofit that runs after-school programs to develop and empower youth living in the challenged and vulnerable communities of Cape Town, South Africa. With the Literacy (English Language Learning) program he created and implemented daily lesson plans for a class of 4th-7th graders. With the HIV/AIDS Peer Education and Prevention program David worked to create and implement student evaluation surveys, establish a system of lesson plan creation and standardization, and improve and expand the curriculum to include more topics relevant to the students. With the Greening and Environmental program David assessed and implemented improvements to the Amy Biehl school break overnight camps, as well as leading hikes and creating a guide for how to lead outings/hikes safely.
“Working with the Amy Biehl Foundation this summer gave me the incredible experience of developing and implementing projects with the intent to create small but lasting impact. I learned how to work within the framework of existing community structures and an organization’s hierarchy, remaining cognizant of my role in promoting the visions and ideas of community members, while maintaining my own creativity and productivity in how I accomplished those projects.”
Alex Thomas '16 lived and worked in Lusaka, Zambia this summer. He volunteered for the Rwanda Zambia HIV Research Group, an organization that works with the Zambian and Rwandan governments to build HIV treatment capacity in their national healthcare systems. Alexander specifically focused on the acceptability and uptake of medical male circumcision as an HIV prevention strategy in sero-discordant couples visiting Zambian government clinics.
“I learned that understanding and engaging different nationalities begins with embracing who you are. Every one of us has a national, ethnic, and religious identity that for better or worse defines who we are to the outside world. Coming to terms with how you relate to that outwardly perceived identity is the first step in learning how others relate to theirs.”