Service speaks to the College’s Quaker roots and the egalitarian values that run deep and strong. For some, the very idea of Quakerism is defined by service to society. And service projects have a way of pulling current students and alumni together in ways no one quite expected.
When Gwenn Rosenberg ’04, a religion
major from the Baltimore area, was considering
After her mother encouraged her to apply
to Haverford, however, Gwenn wound up
During her sophomore year, Gwenn did a Peace and Global internship at the Kiteto Secondary School, in Kibaya, Tanzania. The internship was an outgrowth of a partnership between the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship and the Jifunze Project, a grassroots literacy and education project started by Carrie Oelberger ’99. Gwenn taught students in an ethnically mixed school and also found herself dealing with the language barrier as well as social and cultural tensions between two groups, the Swahili and the Masai. (The two groups have very different ideas about land use and family structure, for example.)
Carrie’s involvement goes back to 1996,
when she wrote to Victor Kimesera ’66 in Tanzania, offering to
volunteer and teach for a couple of semesters in Kimesera’s native
country. After this experience, she started formulating plans for a
study center in Kibaya. A Haverford newsletter article sparked the interest
(and the philanthropy) of Buster Alvord ’44, John Henkels ’49,
Skip West ’77, and John Whitehead ’43, and things started
to happen. Carrie conducted a book drive in 1999 and sent the container
to Tanzania the next year. She formed a local steering committee and
a management team, working with residents and local government officials
to ensure the project’s successful growth. In November 2002 construction
of the educational center was complete.
Creating a true sense of ownership among the local people was a key element. “The goal is to make this center sustainable,” she says. “It can’t depend on me to be here. I’ve planned it so in five to 10 years I’ll be able to pull out and the center will run smoothly.”
“Carrie’s an incredible person,” Gwenn says. “I watched her make decisions by consulting with everyone to get buy-in. It takes five times as long that way. Carrie’s not self-centered or self-satisfied in any way. She’s put the people in that community in charge so they're able to handle it."
Saving the Great Lake State
|The View from
Notes from the Alumni
Moved to Speak