Kenyan School Gets Help from NHS Undergraduates
April 5, 2011 – High school students in Kenya who have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS are benefiting from the work of undergraduates at Georgetown’s School of Nursing & Health Studies (NHS).
Kevin Durbin (NHS’11) says the opportunity to help teenagers from Kibera – the largest slum in sub-Saharan Africa – has been a “priceless experience.”
From March 24 to April 1, NHS’ academic council, which Durbin co-chairs, launched a fundraiser to support students at the St. Aloysius Gonzaga High School in Nairobi, Kenya.
During the council’s Kenya Week fundraiser, members raised approximately $14,000, enough to cover the tuition and costs for 14 students to attend the school for one year.
“It’s humbling to have helped plan an event that will have such a big impact on the lives of students across the globe,” said council member Antonia Kopp (NHS’14).
The council, according to Durbin, first learned about St. Aloysius through NHS faculty and administrators who had participated in the university’s annual Kenya Immersion Program.
Strength in Community
The Office of Mission and Ministry and the Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching, and Service organize the trip each summer.
Past trip participants include Julie DeLoia, interim NHS dean, and Marianne Lyons, assistant dean for enrollment management. They planned a fundraiser at DeLoia’s house that raised more than $4,000 toward the council’s total goal.
“Georgetown’s power comes from the strength of its community,” DeLoia said. “Individuals from across the campus and beyond have supported our students’ initiative. We are so proud of the students for their leadership in contributing to the university’s enduring commitment to Kenya.”
No Better Gift
Another major activity during Kenya Week involved T-shirt sales in the lobby of St. Mary’s Hall.
The council led a friendly competition among the four academic departments at NHS – Health Systems Administration, Human Science, International Health and Nursing – to help boost sales of the T-shirts, which were color coded by department.
Students, faculty, and staff wore the T-shirts on Wednesday, March 30, and the council kept a running tally of sales posted in the lobby.
“There is something special about the fact that all of the funds raised from this project go directly to providing an education,” said Chelsea Feldman (NHS’11). “There is truly no better gift one can give.”
Katie Dunn (NHS’13) agreed. “Kenya Week put into perspective how far money really can go,” she said. “With every thousand dollars we raise, we are helping give kids an opportunity that can change their lives.”