As recipients of awards from the Tanaka Memorial Foundation, Jackie Matos ’19 and Divya Tewari ’19 have dedicated their summers to interning for non-governmental organizations aiding women in Southeast Asia.
Matos serves as an English teaching assistant and dance instructor at the Colaba Municipal Secondary School in Southern Mumbai, India. The school is funded and supported by VIDYA, an NGO in the region. An anthropology major with a dance minor, Matos pursued the Tanaka scholarship knowing that her future lies in education advocacy for marginalized populations.
“Equitable access to education and other rights for women are my greatest passions, and understanding the pursuit for those values outside of America is essential,” says Matos, who tutors for America Reads in Geneva and teaches dance at the Boys and Girls Club of Geneva.
“I feel so humbled and lucky to work alongside amazing women and children who have welcomed me with open arms and made me feel a part of their educational team and school. From helping the young students formulate sentences in English to creating a dance that focused on “Beating Plastic Pollution,” my experience has been a great one and I plan on visiting them even after my internship is finished,” Matos says.
On campus, Matos is a board member of the Caribbean Student Association, event coordinator of Theta Phi Alpha and a member of the Stewardson Society. She also works for the Office of Advancement.
Approximately 3,000 miles away from Matos in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tewari is contributing to efforts related to HIV/AIDS care as an intern for Cambodian Women for Peace and Development. Travelling to various provinces throughout the country, Tewari works with the organization’s leaders and is responsible for creating English language reports for donors.
“This experience is teaching me how necessary a holistic approach is when improving health systems and education, as well as how vital it is for non-governmental organizations to be run by local people,” says Tewari, a biochemistry and political science double-major. “This organization is almost completely staffed by women, functioning as an organization for women, by women— a significant distinction that aids us in achieving our goals. I look forward to continuing my time in this internationally recognized female-dominated space.”
At Hobart and William Smith, Tewari is the president of the William Smith Class of 2020, a resident assistant and a member of HWS Votes. She volunteers with several Geneva organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Community Lunch Program, Rural & Migrant Ministry and Finger Lakes Health. She previously interned at Geneva General Hospital and served as a camp counselor.
The Tanaka Memorial Foundation established the Tanaka Asian Studies Endowment and annually supports the Asian Studies Program, the Tanaka Lectureship in Japanese, programming and faculty research at the Colleges; most recently, the fund has supported the research of Associate Professor of History and Chair of the Asian Studies Department Lisa Yoshikawa. The fund also supports an all-expenses paid experience for students to attend the Technos International Week in Tokyo, Japan, each year. The foundation recently renewed its commitment to the Colleges with a $10,000 grant for the 2018-2019 academic year, an affirmation of a partnership that has benefited HWS students since 1992.