Good Works for PeaceGAMBIER, Ohio (March 24, 2008) A team of Kenyon students has won a grant from the Davis Projects for Peace program and will travel to Ethiopia this summer to work with blind children.
Four students won the $10,000 grant and will spend two months in Mekele, Ethiopia, at the Mekele School for the Blind, a boarding school with about ninety children abandoned by their families. In addition to living expenses for the volunteers, the money will be used to buy and donate a laptop computer, software, a Braille keyboard, a Braillewriter, and books and supplies.
"I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing," said Matthew Huber, Class of 2008, of New Albany, Ohio. Huber has experience as a student volunteer helping with clean-up efforts in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He is a potter and pottery teacher and plans to share those skills with the students in Ethiopia.
The other students on the volunteer team are Laule'a Gorden-Kuehn, Class of 2010, of Portland, Oregon, who has been a YMCA camp counselor; Henry Mathes, Class of 2008, of Hamden, Connecticut, who spent his junior year in South Africa and taught English there to a high school class; and Anne Severe, Class of 2010, of Cincinnati, Ohio, who is a Kenyon community advisor, working with first-year women students.
The Mekele school is understaffed and underfinanced. Its residents are malnourished and have been subject to violence from outsiders. The volunteers will provide tutoring and tutoring training, make physical improvements at the school, and try to establish a ceramics program.
The Davis Projects for Peace program is part of the philanthropic Davis United World College Scholars Program, based in Middlebury, Vt. The peace program has awarded one-hundred $10,000 grants this year, funding projects in fifty-four countries proposed by students at eighty-one colleges and universities.