From Campus To Kathmandu; Student Ignite Talks Tell All
One student spoke describing her work last summer in Nepalese villages, where sheaddressed stigmas surrounding menstruation. Another described efforts to unite Philadelphia’s Caribbean and Asian communities to address drug use. Others described a journalist’s work in Ghana, Democracy building in mid-Atlantic states, and anti-incarceration efforts in Philadelphia. The presenters, each a winner of a 2023 Center For Peace and Global Citizenship Summer Fellowship, described their summer field work at a late October poster session at Lutnick Library.
Lutnick library was buzzing with energy the evening of Friday October 27, as the 2023 Center For Peace and Global Citizenship Summer Fellows came together in community to share their internship experineces. Each fellow created a poster detailing their unique internship experience; spanning from remote work completed from the Haverford College Apartments, to interdisciplinary field work completed in rural Nepal, the summer fellows delved wholly into these partnerships.
In addition to sharing their experiences on paper, four students were selected by their peers to give short, Ignite Presentations, in which they reflected more deeply on their time as fellows. These four students, described below, demonstrated that no matter what the nature of an internship may be, remote, or overseas, the opportunity to participate in real world change can be truly transformative.
Kripa: Destigmatizing Menstrual Hygine
Kripa Khatiwada ('26) spent her summer on a mission to foster conversations around menstruation and promote sustainable menstruation products. Partnering with Reusable Pads Nepal, an organization to whom she had prior ties, Khatiwada aimed to expand resources beyond the capital city, making their initiatives accessible to a broader audience. Across four primary locations (Pokhara, Palpa, Banepa, and Kathmandu), her team spoke with people of all ages, working to demystify the menstrual hygiene dialogue. Facing a deep history of purity culture and stigma within rural Nepalese communities, Kripa reflected that, “Starting uncomfortable conversations requires a lot of open mind and a lot of empathy”. Through facilitating open dialogue, Reusable Pads Nepal continues to achieve great success in increasing the accessibility of menstrual education, providing free reusable cloth pads to participants along the way.
Trisha: Finding Collective Community Through Creative Engagement
Trisha Phan ('24) is a dedicated advocate for coalition building across cultures and communities. This summer she worked with Carribean Communities in Philadelphia (CCP) to outline how best to pursue aid work, both about and for Caribbean locals. Phans ongoing mission is twofold: to unite historically divided Caribbean and Asian communities, and to work against historically racialized or criminalized health and equity issues which disproportionately affect both groups. Trisha organized an open dialogue on immigrant struggles with drug addiction over Vietnamese food which she dubbed, ‘Breaking Bahn-Mi’. Other events and partnerships included distribution and education on Narcan to help opioid overdoses, needle pickup in Kensington with Savage Sisters, and a Long-Covid response and support network targeting Philadelphia's uniquely at-risk immigrant communities. She reflected that, “People will not seek out preventative health care like the resources that I was distributing if they don’t have access to basic needs first”. Understanding how to meet people where they were tied Phans’ work to Khatiwadas’ (prior sentiments of empathy as key to effective service.
Zhao Gu: Bridging Educational Gaps
Zhao Gu Gammage ('25), editor in chief of The Clerk student newspaper, joined the Ghanian multicultural exchange group Lagim Tehi Tuma for her on air debut. Lagim Tehi Tuma, which in the local dialect means “thinking together,” provided Gammage with a framework to reexamine what education is and what it can be. While abroad, she interned with bilingual local broadcast network Simli Radio, founded by Danish international partners in 1995. Live on air, Gammage worked with peers to discuss differences between the US and Ghana, in regards to public education, sanitation, and other cultural topics. Additionally, her team conducted interviews with locals, and hosted a community form with people in nearby Bihinaaayili. In a broader effort of transnational exchange, Gammage was able to develop her love for journalism in new settings. She concluded her talk noting that good reporting, “not only advocates for your community, but also engages with it”.
Zaida: Strengthening Democracy at the Grassroots
Zaida Boisierre (‘24), did a remote internship for the advocacy organization Common Cause, where she explored the inner workings of policy development. By working virtually, Boisierre was able to partner with Common Cause chapters across the Northeast including Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania Teams. In pursuit of its overarching goal of, “building a democracy that serves everyone,” Common Cause works with communities to understand how existing legislation actually affects constituents, and advocates for reforms accordingly. Boisierre conducted research for the organization’s Maryland office on money in politics, and wrote an op-ed on the unique challenges of the asylum-seeking process in New York. She said that while working with a national non profit was not easy, it was worthwhile . Sometimes the work itself wasn't the most difficult part, she said, adding that getting people engaged posed a greater challenge.
Bukky: Advocating for Incarceration Reform
Bukky Olugbeko ('25) spent her summer in courtrooms as a ‘court watcher’ for the Pennsylvania Abolitionist Law Center. The organization pursues anti-incarceration reforms to the criminal justice system through litigation, community organizing, and strategic communication, and works to empower those taken advantage of by what some people refer to as the “criminal punishment system”. Olugbekos’ time as a court watcher was primarily dedicated to documenting the racial disparities in resentencing hearings following parole violations. She observed a total of 274 hearings, compiling evidence of [hearing judges offering extreme deference to District Attorney recommendations in sentencing decisions, which in most cases recommended reimprisonment for even the most technical of violations. Olugbeko also participated in a letter writing campaign to inform inmates when their civil rights had been violated, and connect them with legal resources. A third prong of her internship involved efforts to restrict Pennsylvanian use of solitary confinement, which she described as a ‘weapon of terror’ thrust upon the incarcerated community. Following her summer of immersion in Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system, Bukky said she is resolved in her thinking. “Many different sects of the criminal justice system work together to keep lower class, black and brown individuals trapped within the system for a lifetime, and sometimes even for generations,” she said. “I believe now more than ever that abolition is necessary”.
With summer projects that span the globe, CPGC fellows work to support peace and justice initiatives. These voices represent only a fraction of the expansive and ongoing efforts of Haverford students to make tangible change. To read more about our summer fellows, and the diverse array of opportunities made possible by CPGC funding and our generous alumni network, visit the CPGC website!