This photograph was taken during technical training in the small community of La Cumbre, Dominican Republic in 2008. A group of volunteers woke up early to embark on a hike with a host brother through the Dominican forest. This young boy was eating a mango for breakfast in the morning light outside of a traditional “campo” home.

Peace Corps Environment Volunteer Amy Martin

This photograph was taken during technical training in the small community of La Cumbre, Dominican Republic in 2008. A group of volunteers woke up early to embark on a hike with a host brother through the Dominican forest. This young boy was eating a mango for breakfast in the morning light outside of a traditional “campo” home.

Peace Corps Environment Volunteer Amy Martin

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Race to Benefit Senegalese Girls' Education

A West Michigan man says the empowerment of women in Senegal helps not only them, but benefits the environment as well.  

Andrew Oberstadt became an ally to women in that West African nation when he helped organize Race for Education, a run that will raise money for girls’ education in Senegal’s Tambacounda region.

He and Geoff Burmiester, both of Holland, organized the event with fellow Peace Corps Volunteers.

Oberstadt didn’t intend to take up the cause when he first moved to Senegal via the Peace Corps in 2010. He was more focused on issues such as environmental protection.

What Oberstadt didn’t realize was how keeping women in school could positively affect the environment, he said.

If women earn degrees, they begin careers. When they begin careers, many postpone marriage and pregnancy. When they can plan and space their pregnancies, they have fewer children. Overpopulation — a major issue for the African continent — wreaks havoc on the environment, as the demand for resources increases.

“I am now convinced that women’s empowerment and family planning are some of the best causes we can support to make a positive change in the world,” Oberstadt said in an email.

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I came across this bridge that had locks in formed into the shape of a heart. I learned from the locals that when you fall in love you take your significant other to the bridge lock on a new lock and then throw the key into the river to signify never ending peace and love.

Peace Corps Youth Development Volunteer Tondraya Burton, Ukraine

I came across this bridge that had locks in formed into the shape of a heart. I learned from the locals that when you fall in love you take your significant other to the bridge lock on a new lock and then throw the key into the river to signify never ending peace and love.

Peace Corps Youth Development Volunteer Tondraya Burton, Ukraine

Peace Corps love Valentine's Day locks heart hearts Ukraine culture traditions

Peace Corps Volunteers John Hart and Caroline Lucas helped launch a women-owned small business in Armenia selling and producing handmade stuffed bears. Since the Berd Bear project started in March 2011, the women have sold 230 bears, and generated thousands of dollars.

“The women of Berd are incredibly talented and hardworking. They put a lot of pride into their craft, which is evident in each carefully and lovingly handmade bear,” said Lucas. “As sales of the Berd Bear increase, more local Armenian women are able to work in full-time positions with the BWRCF.”

Additional income generated by sales of the Berd Bear is used to provide members of the foundation with training classes in basic computer skills, business development and other topics.

“Aside from the financial benefits generated by bear sales, the women are also gaining business and leadership skills,” continued Lucas. “Now, these women can help support their families.”

(Source: peacecorps.gov)

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I took this photo in August, 2011, in Moldova, at my Romanian tutor’s home. My tutor, her husband (pictured), and I spent the day in the garden collecting fresh fruits and veggies to prepare for an afternoon feast that we would all help prepare. Gheorghe made me try every vegetable and fruit their garden had to offer. Here, he just tasted a cucumber and was giving it to me for an official taste test. It was delicious!

Peace Corps Education Volunteer Alexandra Chebuhar

I took this photo in August, 2011, in Moldova, at my Romanian tutor’s home. My tutor, her husband (pictured), and I spent the day in the garden collecting fresh fruits and veggies to prepare for an afternoon feast that we would all help prepare. Gheorghe made me try every vegetable and fruit their garden had to offer. Here, he just tasted a cucumber and was giving it to me for an official taste test. It was delicious!

Peace Corps Education Volunteer Alexandra Chebuhar

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