As the 2019 recipient of the Jackson Kemper Foundation internship, Divya Tewari ’20 will dedicate the summer months to working at a non-governmental organization (NGO) aiding teenage girls in Morocco. Tewari will stay in the country throughout the fall, studying abroad through the Colleges’ partnership with the School for International Training (SIT) in Rabat.
A political science major, Tewari is passionate about advancing the rights of women and girls around the world. Through the NGO Project Soar, Tewari will help implement mentorship and empowerment training for girls ages 11 through 18, where weekly workshops inspire participants to develop self-confidence, leadership and advocacy skills; a necessity Tewari says that will further “gender equity in the region” and increase girls’ participation in school.
The Project SOAR program provides academic support and a safe space to pursue athletics and artistic activities. In addition, Tewari says, “A critical part of the organizations’ mission is to provide girls with information about their changing bodies and to distribute menstruation kits. Research has shown that this significantly increases girls’ attendance in school.”
Through the support of the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education, Tewari was introduced to Caitlin Stechschulte ’04, the Director of Operations at Anou in Casablanca, and then to Project Soar. “Career Services was phenomenal. They helped me secure the funding and connect with our alum network.”
Following the internship, Tewari will participate in field-based research while taking courses in migration and transnational identity. The program includes a week-long trip to the Netherlands, where students will meet Moroccans living in the Netherlands, including first-generation women immigrants and second-generation Moroccan/Dutch elected officials.
“I’m looking forward to taking my experiences interning with Project Soar and building on them through the fall semester,” Tewari says. “The opportunity to gain insight on the culture of the region through befriending and learning from the local people is what will allow me to carry the next six months with me for the rest of my life, as I leave Morocco with a broader network of friends and family.”
Having interned in Cambodia last summer through the Tanaka Memorial Foundation, Tewari gained insight in how NGO’s operate, from fundraising to community outreach. The experience focused Tewari’s ambitions in the international development sector and inspired their continued work toward a “safer world for women and girls,” Tewari says.
Jackson ’64 and Sharon Kemper established the Jackson Kemper Foundation Non-Profit Internship to connect Hobart and William Smith students with nonprofits lifting women and children in Africa or Central America out of poverty. An American history major at the Colleges, Jackson was also a member of the football and baseball teams.