Following a short-term study program in Nairobi, Kenya in June, Elizabeth Anderson ’19 and Sarah Banta ’19 remained in the country to intern with Kiwimbi International, a charity focused on supporting educational resources in rural Kenya and around the world.
Kiwimbi, which means “ripple” or “wave” in Swahili, partners “with underserved communities worldwide to create educational opportunities through locally run learning centers,” says Janet Selover Wulster ’72, who serves on the organization’s board with former HWS Trustee Carol Ulmer ’72.
Kiwimbi’s learning centers serve a variety of needs for both children and adults; the group’s library in Amagoro, Kenya, for example, provides lunches for students, runs camps and offers tutoring, vocational and life skills training. The organization envisions the impact of these centers as “drop[s] in the water that sends out ripples leading to natural growth and development.”
After finishing the Reader’s College course — “Kenya: The Economics of Betweenness” taught by Assistant Professor of Economics Keoka Grayson — Anderson and Banta began their orientation with Kiwimbi leaders. That week-long period, Wulster explains, offers students a chance “to explore the different areas of education, including the library, the classrooms, the [MindLeaps] dance program, and the programs for vocational training such as tailoring, carpentry and agriculture.”
For Banta, a psychology major with minors in Africana studies and child advocacy, the internship is an opportunity to see “a more comprehensive understanding of formal education in Kenya, including access and impact, as well as vocational education,” as well as insight into what it might be like to serve as a Peace Corps officer.
Anderson, with her academic background in cultural anthropology and Africana studies and dance, says she hopes “to work for an organization like Kiwimbi in the future.”
For the students, Wulster is certain that the internship with Kiwimbi will have its own “ripple” effects that Anderson and Banta will carry with them wherever their careers take them. Developing “maturity, willingness and delight in the adventure [and] an understanding of what cultural challenges they may face,” she says they will develop the “confidence that they will be able to handle whatever comes their way.”