This, as you may have guessed by the title, is the promised Davis Projects for Peace application post. I think it's important that these documents have their own post because they explain a lot about what I hope to accomplish with my project, both this summer and in the future.
*Important note: My budget for the project in this post is listed as $10,000 because this proposal was made specifically for the Davis Projects for Peace program, which gives away $10,000 awards. Accordingly, I made this budget for $10,000 to show the committee what I would do with that amount of money if I were to win one of these awards.
Without further ado, here's my official project proposal:
It has been proven time and time again that educating women is one of the most effective ways of fostering gender equality, economic development, and long-term peace. To educate a woman is to empower her; armed with empowerment, she is more likely to become a cultivator of peace and stability in her community. For this reason, I aspire to teach English during July of 2013 at the Muanjadi High School, a high school for girls in Mbuji Mayi, Democratic Republic of Congo.
During high school, my French Honor Society dedicated its fundraising efforts to sponsoring girls through the Muanjadi Organization, allowing them to stay in school rather than being married off to preserve their families’ incomes. As we raised money to help these young women, our group got to know the Organization’s founder, Sandra Bea. Sandra was born and raised in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and attended the school which is now the focus of her charity’s efforts.
I contacted Sandra about traveling abroad to teach English after reading Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, which inspired me to consider what I could do to help the world continue in its progression towards gender equality. In reply to my email, Sandra informed me that the Muanjadi Organization had never sent someone abroad to teach before, but that they hoped to in the future. She invited me to design and pioneer a Teach-for-Muanjadi program for the Organization.
My proposal’s chief intention is, firstly, to teach English to the young women of the Muanjadi High School, and, secondly, to show them how much power they gain with their knowledge of this widespread lingua franca. To accomplish the second goal, I intend to do two things: to start a pen-pal program between my students at the Muanjadi High School and my own alma mater, Castle View High School, and to give my students a blog of their own, so that they may continue to reach out and communicate with the wider world after I leave. I plan to allocate a portion of the money to an internet café in Mbuji Mayi, arranging an hour-long period each week during which any of my students can enter free-of-charge and update the class blog. Through this, the students will see how they themselves can directly impact the world by communicating with others, as well as continuing to practice and improve their English skills. Being able to easily communicate their thoughts and ideas with the larger world will hopefully serve as a highly empowering experience for the students, showing them that they possess the aptitude to impact not only their community, but communities around the world as well.
In order to encourage others to follow in my footsteps in the future, I intend to document the planning process and progression of my program, as well as my trip itself on a video blog (which can be found at: http://muanjadi.blogspot.com); in the weeks following my trip, I will to compile my videos and the footage I record of my service abroad into a documentary. This documentary will aim to be inspirational, as well as informational, to the current students of French Honor Societies in the Douglas County, Colorado area, with whom I will work in the future to sustain the Teach-for-Muanjadi program. I plan to present this video to the respective groups, and to encourage them to collaborate on establishing one significant annual fundraising event whose proceeds would go towards sending one teacher per year, ideally eighteen or older, abroad to teach English during one month of their summer vacation. Additionally, I would use a portion of the money to create a Teach-for-Muanjadi three-year stipend, which would provide financial help to the next teachers as the program finds its footing. My program would also institute a biannual end-of-semester school supply drive, for which the Castle View French Honor Society would place collection boxes at local schools for leftover school supplies. The supplies collected would be sent abroad with each year’s teacher, to be donated to the school.
As a whole, my project aims to empower both the girls of the Muanjadi High School and the Douglas County French Honor Societies’ members by creating and sustaining opportunities for intercultural learning sharing. When ideas can be exchanged despite socioeconomic and cultural differences, peace and understanding begin to take root.
To supplement that, I'm also including my proposal's budget (if I were to get $10,000 for this project, that is). Here it is:*Sandra Bea, with whom I am working to facilitate this project, has invited me to stay in her mother’s house in Mbuji Mayi during my trip, more or less eliminating the costs of meals and lodging.
Thanks for reading,