OLPCorps Tulane University & UC Davis – Sierra Leone

Why we joined OLPCorps… by Katie R
June 4, 2009, 5:27 pm
Filed under: OLPCorps, Team Info

Reason #1    We love Sierra Leone!

Katie R, Katie M, and Emily spent the summer of 2008 completing an internship in Kenema and not only fell in love with the place, but fell in love with the people.  They made several great contacts and gained an understanding of exactly what types of public health, human rights, and education programs were up and running in the area (and also what was missing).  They noticed a few things:

  • A wonderful groups of kids that lived near the Pastoral Center, where we stayed all summer, were the highlight of our time there there.  They were a smart, innovative, charming group and they had an insatiable desire to learn about the world around them.  We want these kids and kids like them to have a tool to continue learning throughout their childhood!
  • Though computer skills are highly sought after at this point in Sierra Leone’s development, there were few resources available to develop them!  One program in town had computer classes, but the fee to join the class put this option out of reach to most adults.  Kenema’s chapter of Defence for Children International did have a small computer lab and offered a limited amount of computer skills training to young adults for free, but their programs were so popular they ended up having to turn people away.  Finally, we found nothing like this for younger children.

Reason #2   We love education!

Throughout several of our public health courses, it seems that many public health issues can be traced, directly or indirectly, back to education and it seems that improving education is the first step to improving plenty of public health issues- from disease management, to safe hygeine practices, to reproductive health, all the way to poverty.

Reason # 3  We love having such an involved project over the summer

As recent grads and grad students, we must admit that this is a pretty exciting opportunity.  It’s  overwhelming and quite time consuming to be sure, but to be given the freeedom to implement a program like this on our own at this point in our careers (read: the very beginning), to coordinate the equipment, create and follow a budget, fundraise, communicate across the country and across the world, etc, etc, etc, is pretty rare.


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