Two student led projects at Wartburg College have each received $10,000 as part of the Davis Projects for Peace grants to help communities in Namibia and Sierra Leone.
“I am super excited to actually go home and give back to a community that I have lived in,” Sophomore Saffa Bockarie said. “The place I come from, they do so much of agricultural acclivity and connecting that to Iowa I say is something that I am very thankful for.”
Bockarie is leading a project that will work to improve access to clean water for drinking and irrigation in the Mobai village in Sierra Leone. Bockarie came to Wartburg College in 2016 and has worked on the irrigation project since January. Being able to take the skills he learned in Easter Iowa to his home of Sierra Leone is an important step in his career.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity and it will make a difference in the life of others,” Bockarie said. “Every opportunity should be binary, you receive and you give so I have been helped by others. I try to in whatever I do to help others.”
Tyler Bitting is from Keokuk, Iowa he is a Junior at Wartburg College and majors in engineering and science. He connected early on with Saffa and is also part of their project to improve the lives of citizens in Sierra Leone. While Saffe has traveled back to his home village many times, for Tyler this will be the first time out of the country adding to the excitement of helping others.
“First it was just a dream now it’s becoming reality,” Bitting said. “We just want things to be easier for them, the things they have to do for water walking miles and miles a day is excessive and we just know with our minds and creative idea we can make that a lot easier.”
The second grant is going to Rachel Ndjuluwa. She will return to her home village to construct a classroom at Ndjukuma Primary School. The school has roughly 300 students but only 4 rooms available. Most of the time kids have to sit under a tree outside not being able to reach their full potential in a classroom environment. The grant money will be used to construct a seven by eight meter class room to increase enrollment and help students learn.
“I grew up witnessing the hardships and being able to transition to a school with nothing to a high school with something, to a college with everything I am able to tell the importance of actually having these resources to reach your fullest potential,” Ndjuluwa said.
One of the most important aspects of her work however is the connection Davis Grant projects like hers can forge. Being able to take her experience from the United States and help her home proves that global citizenship and a connected world can improve our future for everyone.
“A country like the United States of the America we have generous people, we have people who always willing to help. We live in a codependent world and this project is directed towards promoting world peace and sustainability. We develop a mind of of exposure, a mind of global citizenship to promote world peace.”