Last day at Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School!
Munting Batangas, Balanga. Philippines
Peace Corps Volunteers worldwide are supporting the new government-wide Let Girls Learn effort by increasing opportunities for women and girls through education. Let Girls Learn launched today to raise awareness about the need to support all girls in their pursuit of a quality education. The effort, coordinated by the U.S. Agency for International Development, includes $231 million in new education programs in Nigeria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Jordan and Guatemala.
Scenes from Small-Town Uganda with @sarahgenelle
For a look at everyday life on a coffee farm in Western Uganda, follow @sarahgenelle.
Living and working on a coffee farm nestled in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda is just the latest stop in the nomadic life of Sarah Castagnola (@sarahgenelle).
Sarah’s parents taught at international schools, which meant relocating the family to a different country every few years. “When I moved to Oregon for university I was exited to put down roots,” she explains. “However, it was only a matter of time before I yearned to travel again.”
Sarah’s studies and work in micro-finance have taken her across the globe, and, in April of 2013, she accepted a Peace Corps assignment in the small Ugandan village of Kyarumba. Living and working in Uganda often means it’s easier to share a photo on Instagram than it is to find running water or electricity. “This is the paradox of living in a developing country,” Sarah says. “Cellphones are ubiquitous, however women and children spend hours each day fetching water.”
Sarah, who plans to continue traveling after the Peace Corps, hopes her photos educate and inspire: “Opportunities happen when you take risks and follow your passion.”
Congrats on being featured by Instagram, Sarah!
“I’ve always seen my mother as an incredible woman, full of creativity, adventure, intelligence and generosity,” Hannah said. “Working with her on this project has made me appreciate her even more and value her contributions to all aspects of my Peace Corps service.”
“They love to look at books. Watching them listen to a read aloud is like watching American children at a movie; they lean forward, enthralled, and talk excitedly to each other about the pictures.”
My hope for the project was to allow these rather isolated, low resource communities to use their environment and culture as a tool to promote education, health, and intercultural interaction, while boosting economic prosperity throughout the region.
Peace Corps Education Volunteer Shane Butler loves running, and he’s using his love of running to engage his local community in East Java, Indonesia.
“When I first arrived, people thought I was crazy running around the hills,” said Butler, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara. “Then they got used to it, and then my students joined me. Now I see more and more people practicing on their own. Running is so healthy for your physical health as well as your state of mind and willpower, so it’s been really rewarding to watch this transformation.”
Working with members of his community, Butler planned and hosted the first-ever marathon in the Mount Bromo region to infuse the local economy and bring people from all over the world together to learn about the local culture.
More than 900 people ran in the race, and runners represented more than 30 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Germany, India, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Another 5,000 people came to watch the event and join the festivities, which included an arts and culture festival the evening before the marathon. The festival promoted all aspects of the local culture and featured dance and music performances, art displays, and traditional cuisine.
The project generated income for area restaurants and hotels, and donations were collected to support five school libraries in four different villages as well as one community library in the region. The donations will fund more books, tables and chairs at the libraries, and training for staff and students on library maintenance.
Butler teaches regularly at a local high school and runs an English conversation club. He also coaches cross-country running, and all 25 members of his cross-country team participated in the marathon. In addition to regular fitness training, cross-country team members learn about nutrition, fitness, hygiene, and social responsibility.
During GLOW Camp 2013, Armenian young women, counselors and Volunteers joined their hearts and minds. Volunteers partnered with Stepanvan Youth Center to provide an intensive camp for 40 girls ages 13-16. They participated in trainings, exercises and discussions on leadership, self-esteem, gender equality, trafficking, domestic violence, peer education and social networking. After camp, everyone will “take it back” to their local communities via regional seminars and local peer education. Junior counselors and selected campers will join with the Volunteers and partner organization to tell their GLOW story to Armenian businesses with interest in social responsibility. They will encourage corporate participation in future camps and continuing peer education throughout Armenia as a way to ensure a sustainable future for this project. Through partnership, community and participation – Girls Will Lead Our World. Their smiles tell the whole story.
- Peace Corps Community Development Volunteer Deborah Hall
Reading in Malawi
Peace Corps Volunteers in Morocco held a Spring Camp for girls and boys. The camp focused on a different theme each day: Gender, Health, Environment, World of Work, and American Culture. Campers made environment collages, practiced public speaking, hiked, and shared about their long term goals. By the end of the week, the group of boys and girls that started out shy and unsure were confident and inspired, celebrating their shared experience and excited for the future!
No one knows better than Peace Corps Volunteers that long-held norms and beliefs about gender can constrain female students, women’s cooperative members or female farmers – not to mention wives and mothers – from participating fully in their country’s development. In spite of the fact that women and girls are an important part of development, challenges to realizing gender equality remain 39 years after the United Nations proclaimed International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8, 1975, and which we celebrate this Saturday. Every day Volunteers are inspired by their female community members as they take small steps to get their fair share of education, information and decision-making.
Happy World Read Aloud Day!
Across the globe nearly 171 million children could be lifted out of poverty if they left school with basic reading and writing skills. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.
Who are you reading aloud to today?
Girls enjoying school in Indonesia