|9 Dec 2020|
ISP's Humanitarian Project got started when a student in Ms. Pierre's Humanities Class asked why we should learn about less-developed countries in a Parisian classroom. Why couldn't we just go and find out for ourselves?
Sure enough, in 2007 the first Humanitarian Project Team boarded an airplane and began their long journey to rural Namibia, where they participated in a charity project and created a solid foundation for a long-term collaboration with the village. These annual projects have continued ever since, involving students in a year-long activity of research, commitment and fundraising, culminating in a trip to varied destinations. So far, 2020 has been the only exception, as COVID-19 pandemic prevented the team from traveling.
Ten years ago, in 2010, the trip had to be rescheduled twice. First, the FIFA World Cup held in South Africa wrenched the summer flight prices sky-high, and the trip was moved to May. Then, a bit closer to the date, an Icelandic volcano rupture closed the airspace, and prevented the team from leaving. In the end, they managed to go a few days later than originally scheduled and do the planned work in Namibia. Talk about resilience!
After several years of successful projects in Namibia, a new destination was found in Ghana. Those projects, in turn, were interrupted in 2015, when the Ebola virus made it too risky to travel to West Africa. The team turned to a different part of the world, and with the help of an ISP alumni family found a rewarding project in Costa Rica. In 2016 Ghana was again a safe destination, and the team returned to finish the projects.
In 2018 and 19, the trip destination has been the same rural area in Namibia, and while the students were all new, the people in the village welcomed the ISP group like dear old friends. We are hoping that the current team might be able to travel next summer, to finish the ongoing project there.
All these trips are filled with individual memories of hardships and friendships, challenges as well as successes. The students experienced a whole new world together, which created special bonds between them.
On Sunday, December 13th, we are organizing an alumni reunion for all those students and staff members who attended these trips. It wil be a great time for them to reconnect and reminisce about their shared experiences. In addition, we will be able to hear their thoughts about the trips now, when some time has passed. Did the trips really change who they are and how they see the world?
All our community members are invited to join the conversation. Perhaps you have experience about service learning from another school, or are interested in this for your studies or work. Join us, and bring your story!
Register for the event at alumni.isparis.edu/event/sdp-alumni-zoom
See you on Sunday!