World Wise Schools has matched up Peace Corps Volunteer Julia H. with American TESOL Institute for a two-year exchange of ideas, stories, pictures, and artifacts that help ATI students in the classroom learn about the people, geography, environment, and the culture of the world.
Hey ATI students! Mwa la la po? (how are you all in Oshiwambo, the local language). My name is Julie and I'm currently a Peace Corps volunteer serving in Namibia in Southern Africa and will be here for 2 years. I arrived in Namibia in August when I completed a two-month training program in a town called Okahandja. The training consisted of medical, safety, technical, cultural and language sessions from 8:30 to 5 everyday during the week and sometimes even on Saturdays! There were 45 Americans with us from all over the US since the beginning and we spent all that time together so you can imagine we all became pretty good friends. While in Okahandja, we all lived in different neighborhoods with host families so it was a really good introduction to Namibia and its people and culture.
After 8 weeks as Peace Corps trainees in Okahandja, we swore in as volunteers on October 16 and moved to our sites the next day! The volunteers in our group are spread out throughout the entire country and the majority of our group are English, Science, or Math teachers since we are all education volunteers (there are also health volunteers in Namibia). I am a bit of a special case because although technically I am lumped in with the education volunteers, I actually am not a teacher at a school. I am an ICT Volunteer (Information and Communications Technology) and am working at a community library at my site. Of our group, there are four ICT Volunteers and only two of us won't be at schools.
So now that you have the background, I can tell you a little bit about my site, which I have been at now for two weeks! I was placed in a small town called Omuthiya in Owamboland which consists of four regions in the Northern part of the country. Omuthiya was recently proclaimed a town and is definitely in the PROCESS of developing. I kind of feel like I have the best of both worlds here since I do have some of the amenities of a town but also live 4km off the main road (about an hour's walk) in a village. I definitely mean *some* amenities since there is no grocery store here and I have to travel 80km to my shopping town of Ondangwa to buy food! I am living on a traditional Owambo homestead with a host family who are really awesome. A homestead is a collection of huts and houses owned by one extended family and surrounded by a ton of land. My Meme and Tate (Mother & Father in Oshiwambo) are older and their kids are all grown and have moved away but there are several Namibian students (or learners, as they are called here) who live here and help out because of the homestead's proximity to local schools. Additionally, there are several farmers who also live and work here. I have my own little 4-room concrete house on the homestead and there is no electricity or running water. There is a water tap in a different section of the homestead so I am able to fetch water whenever I need it. A lot of other volunteers on homesteads have bucket showers and pit latrines but I am lucky enough to have a flush toilet and (cold!) shower which are both located in another little house on the homestead.
My job is still pretty new which means I'm still getting the hang of things and figuring things out but I'm really liking it so far. I am currently helping to open a new library in town which has included setting up a computer lab there, helping to move in furniture, facilitating setting up the internet, and organizing and shelving books. Organizing the books is what my days mostly consist of right now. It's very time consuming! I can't wait for the library to actually be open. I have lots of ideas for what I want to do there when community members start using it!
So that's a little snapshot of my life right now. It's all very new and exciting and I'm really liking it! Where are some of the places that you all will be teaching? What are some of your reasons for wanting to teach abroad?? I'd love to hear about you guys!! Feel free to e-mail with any questions - email@example.com. I'll do my best to answer you as quickly as I can. Talk to you soon!!
Peace Corps Honors National Day of Service and Remembrance on 20th Anniversary of September 11
WASHINGTON ? Tomorrow, the Peace Corps will pause to remember and reflect upon the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, which took nearly 3,000 lives in New York, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon and devastated communities in the United States and across the world.
On that day, one of the Peace Corps? regional offices was destroyed as the World Trade Center Towers fell. Of the 20 Peace Corps staff members based in New York, three were at the agency?s office when the attack occurred. All three staff made a miraculous escape.
Peace Corps Acting Director Carol Spahn issued the following statement in remembrance:
?In 2009, Congress named September 11 a National Day of Service and Remembrance, acknowledging both the tragedy of that day, and the countless acts of service that followed. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, hundreds of bystanders came together to pull victims to safety, offer care and comfort, and open their homes to those in need. In the weeks that followed, thousands of people turned up in droves to donate blood, clear rubble from the streets, and organize financial support for the families of those who were killed.
?The September 11 attack was a direct affront to the Peace Corps? mission of world peace and friendship. Inspired by the courageous staff members who survived the World Trade Center attack?we were driven to quickly resume operations at our darkest hour. The Peace Corps staff in New York are just a few of the many public servants who toiled in incredibly difficult circumstances to recover, rebuild and move forward in the aftermath of September 11. In the face of an unbelievable disaster, they showed up.
?There is no comparison to that time in our history. But, again, we find ourselves inspired by the first responders, essential workers and civil servants who are going well beyond their normal duties in order to help our communities through the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this lens we can look back on the events of September 11 and have a renewed perspective: a defining characteristic of the American spirit is our ability to unite in service of one another?across difference, across cultures, and across political divides.
?With this sentiment in mind, I encourage all of us to harness that unifying spirit to engage in acts of service this weekend. I plan to join thousands of volunteers in the National Capital Region to pack meals for children, families, seniors and military veterans at risk of hunger in the D.C. area.
?By serving one another, we can work towards healing our communities and take another step toward a more peaceful world.?
From July 19 to August 31, the Peace Corps will accept nominations for awards to honor exceptional returned volunteers and staff
WASHINGTON ? Today, nominations for the Peace Corps? John F. Kennedy Service Awards will open and be accepted until 11:59 p.m., Tuesday August 31, 2021. The award, presented every five years, honors President John F. Kennedy?s vision, leadership, and commitment to public service by recognizing members of the Peace Corps community who have made exceptional contributions toward realizing the mission and goals of the agency.
?The Peace Corps community is made up of incredibly dedicated people who share a passion for service above self,? said Acting Director Carol Spahn. ?I am inspired every day by the fierce commitment of our staff and volunteers and it will certainly be a challenge to select the winners.?
John F. Kennedy Service Award candidates must demonstrate outstanding service and leadership that furthers the Peace Corps? mission and its three goals. The awards are typically presented to two current Peace Corps volunteers, two Peace Corps staff members, one returned Peace Corps Response volunteer, and one returned Peace Corps volunteer. This year, due to the unique circumstances stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the awards will include two current or former (within five years) Peace Corps staff members, two returned Peace Corps Response volunteers and two returned Peace Corps volunteers.
Those who are interested in nominating a returned Peace Corps volunteer or staff member for this award can do so here.
President John F. Kennedy created the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961. Since then, over 240,000 American citizens have served abroad with the agency, promoting world peace and friendship.
WASHINGTON ?The Peace Corps announced today that more than 700 undergraduate students completed the Peace Corps Prep program in the 2020-2021 academic year.
?The graduates of Peace Corps Prep are committed to the unifying power of service and have a passion for intercultural understanding, which is critically needed as we look to help communities around the world overcome and heal from the COVID-19 pandemic,? said Peace Corps Acting Director Carol Spahn. ?These students took a historically challenging academic year and used it as an opportunity to focus on what they can give to others. And this program is just the beginning of their service journey ? one that is not limited to students, but that we should all consider to give back to our communities.?
Peace Corps Prep is a certificate program provided by the agency, in cooperation with more than 140 partner universities, to empower undergraduate students in four core competencies vital to the fieldwork and success of a Peace Corps volunteer. These competencies include critical sector-specific skills, foreign language proficiency, intercultural competence and professional leadership skills.
?Through our partner universities, students of diverse backgrounds are made aware of the Peace Corps? service opportunity,? said Office of University Programs Director La?Teashia Sykes. ?I want to offer my sincere congratulations to the students who have earned their Peace Corps Prep certificate and to our partners who continue to inspire hundreds of students to foster their love of service.?
Agency will resume inviting volunteers to serve in countries that have met rigorous health, security and safety standards
Today, the Peace Corps announced that it is a step closer to returning volunteers to overseas service. The agency will resume inviting volunteers to serve at posts that have met a comprehensive set of health, safety and security criteria.
?Following 15 months of global isolation, tireless work by our staff around the world and incredible patience from our applicants and host country partners, the Peace Corps is moving forward in the process of returning to our overseas posts,? said Acting Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn. ?The Peace Corps is advancing with an abundance of caution, flexibility and pragmatism, but also with so much hope about all the important work that is ahead of us.?
While the COVID-19 pandemic remains a dynamic challenge, the agency has developed a comprehensive process to safely return volunteers to service abroad. These preparations include ensuring that every post meet a comprehensive list of internal and external factors including updating Emergency Action Plans, ensuring availability of reliable transportations routes in and out of the country, confirming the local medical care capacity, and identifying medical evacuation locations.
Consistent with this comprehensive return to service process, the Peace Corps is implementing plans to move forward with re-opening its program in Belize. At the request of the government of Belize, volunteers will engage in literacy work to help local schools recover following disruptions to the education system during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The agency is continuously reviewing and evaluating its reentry criteria to ensure that the timing of return is safe, respectful of culture and on-the-ground conditions, supportive of host country?s urgent needs, and compliant with local laws, regulations, and protocols. The agency anticipates additional country-specific invitations in the upcoming weeks and months.
In March 2020, the Peace Corps temporarily suspended its global operations and evacuated nearly 7,000 volunteers from 62 countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event marked the first time in the agency?s 60 year history that volunteers were evacuated from all global posts. However, the Peace Corps has continued to further its mission of world peace and friendship through several virtual service engagements with overseas partners and a second-ever domestic deployment to assist the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with its COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts.
WASHINGTON ? On Thursday, returned Peace Corps volunteer Carole Anne ?Aziza? Reid, of Harlem, New York, was honored with the agency?s prestigious Lillian Carter Award at a virtual ceremony. This biennial award honors outstanding individuals who served in the Peace Corps at age 50 or older, and who demonstrate a commitment to civic engagement and service, advancing the Peace Corps? mission of promoting world peace and friendship, and the Peace Corps? Third Goal of strengthening Americans? understanding of the world and its people.
"If you are thinking about serving in the Peace Corps, especially if you are 50 or older, I encourage you to take the leap,? said Reid. ?I was 53 when I enlisted as a volunteer, and I started walking towards my best self. My journey continues today, and it is with a deep sense of humility and gratitude that I?as one of many former and current dedicated Peace Corps volunteers?accept the Lillian Carter Award.?
Reid began her journey as a Peace Corps volunteer first as a community organizational development volunteer in Moldova from 2016 to 2018, and later as youth education volunteer in Eswatini from 2018 to 2020. As a volunteer, Reid organized community programs to empower women and youth through African dance classes and social justice activities. Reid was sworn in as a Peace Corps recruiter earlier this week.
Prior to joining the Peace Corps, Reid founded Def Dance Jam Workshop (DDJW), an inter-generational performing arts troupe and academic program serving deaf, hearing impaired, and physically and developmentally disabled youths and their families. As a non-profit, DDJW has been providing free African and modern dance, hip hop, tap, drumming, drama and voice lessons to Harlem community members for two decades. As a State Department cultural ambassador, Reid replicated her special-needs programming by opening a sister program of DDJW sponsored by the American Embassy in Cyprus, Greece, and Istanbul, Turkey.
Reid is also the founder and executive director of The Black Choreographers Project, Inc., an organization providing services to members of the dance community who are 50 years and older.
When Reid?s second tour in the Peace Corps was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ordained interfaith minister returned home to form a nationwide collective called Ministers of Color Sacred Circle, which aims to address racial disparities facing people of color.
Reid majored in dance at the State University of New York at Purchase and went on to a career in dance and theater, working with companies such as the Joffrey Ballet and Sounds In Motion. As a featured dancer, Reid toured with Stevie Wonder and rap artists KRS 1 and Boogie Down Productions. On Broadway, Reid worked as assistant choreographer on "Rent? and ?Mulebone."
?The Peace Corps is honored to present the Lillian Carter Award to Aziza?a person who has never stopped serving her community, whether in Harlem, Eswatini or Moldova,? said Acting Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn. ?As an advocate and activist for people with disabilities and people of color, as a foster mother, community leader and returned Peace Corps volunteer, Aziza proves that a life of service?at any age?is the highest calling.?
The Lillian Carter Award was established in 1986 in honor of President Jimmy Carter's mother, Lillian Carter, who, at age 68, served as a Peace Corps health volunteer in India. Lillian Carter?s commitment to Peace Corps service was an extension of her dedication to humanitarian efforts at home and abroad.
Over 240,000 American citizens?13,898 of whom served over the age of 50?have dedicated themselves to promoting world peace and friendship since the Peace Corps was established 60 years ago in 1961.
Deborah Buckley, Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania ? Romania, 2009-2011, 2013; Samoa, 2019
Patricia Deignan, Sebastopol, California ? Ukraine, 2017-2019
Michael Dixon, Saint Augustine, Florida ? Ukraine, 2011-2014; Armenia, 2015, Kosovo, 2016
Cody Festerling, Pueblo, Colorado ? Kenya, 1982-1983; Belize, 1985-1987; Kiribati 1992-1993; Gambia, 2014-2016; Ethiopia, 2018-2020
Charles Hunt, Denver, Colorado ? Vanuatu, 2006-2008
Karen Hunt, Bellbrook, Ohio ? Ethiopia, 1986-1988; Armenia, 2017-2019; Kenya, 2019-2020
Madeline Kellner, Novato, California ? Guatemala, 2016-2018; Peru, 2020
Calvin Mann, Oakland, California ? North Macedonia, 2017-2020
Carole Anne (Aziza) Reid, Bronx, New York ? Moldova, 2016-2018; Eswatini, 2018-2020
Catherine (Kate) Schachter, Madison, Wisconsin ? Ghana, 2004-2007; Republic of Georgia, 2016-2017
Today, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, making Juneteenth a federal holiday. The holiday will commemorate June 19, 1865, the day news of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached Galveston, Texas. That day, 250,000 enslaved Black Americans were legally freed, marking the official end of chattel slavery in the United States. Peace Corps Acting Director Carol Spahn issued the following statement in response:
?Juneteenth serves as a stark reminder of the long-awaited freedom of Black Americans in our history. It also offers an opportunity to recognize the enduring legacy of slavery on our society, and course correct accordingly. Acknowledging our painful, nearly 250-year history with slavery and marking June 19 as a federal holiday is a step toward elevating awareness and understanding of the Black American experience to communities around the world.
?The Peace Corps is deeply committed to our mission of world peace and friendship and we acknowledge that this mission cannot be achieved without first eradicating systemic racism and building bridges of understanding. Today, we celebrate the progress we have made, and recommit to meeting this historic period with intentionality and purpose.?
WASHINGTON ? Today, the Peace Corps joins with the global community to mark 40 years since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the first report describing what would become known as the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Since then, AIDS-related illnesses have resulted in over 32 million deaths around the world.
With the inception of the President?s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in 2003, the Peace Corps became part of a coordinated U.S. government response to the disease. The agency has played a unique role in providing comprehensive HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment services by targeting hard-to-reach populations and instituting change through sustainable community efforts that include education, outreach and emergency relief.
?The Peace Corps honors the millions of people who have lost their lives to the HIV/AIDS epidemic over the last 40 years, and we recognize those living with HIV/AIDS today ? in the U.S. and around the world,? said Acting Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn. ?Everyone, regardless of their HIV status, deserves to live healthy, dignified lives. As our volunteers return to service, we will reenergize our efforts in the area of HIV/AIDS prevention, mitigation, education and de-stigmatization until that goal is accomplished.?
June 5 is now recognized as HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day?a time to reflect on the resiliency of the individuals who were on the frontlines of early activism and recommit to ending the epidemic.
?For the Peace Corps, HIV is a cross-sector programing priority, and HIV prevention, care, and support activities are implemented across our six program sectors,? said Dr. Kechi Achebe, Director of the Peace Corps? Office of Global Health and HIV. ?Volunteers work hand-in-hand with local professionals to improve community health and mitigate the effects of HIV around the world.?
Nearly 4,000 highly skilled, short-term volunteers have served since 1996
WASHINGTON ? Peace Corps Response, a specialized program for Peace Corps, is celebrating 25 years of sending experienced professionals to short-term, high impact volunteer assignments around the world. Since its founding on June 19, 1996, nearly 4,000 Americans have served in over 80 countries.
Over 150 Peace Corps Response volunteers are currently deployed across the nation to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) supported Community Vaccination Centers (CVCs) to aid in the fight against COVID-19, marking the second time in the agency?s history that volunteers will serve domestically. Volunteers will serve in these assignments through August.
?From sending doctors and nurses to teach at schools of medicine and nursing in Africa to facilitating global, virtual service during the pandemic, Peace Corps Response has partnered with countries around the world to meet critical needs ? and we are now doing the same to support the COVID-19 response here in the United States.? said Carol Spahn, Acting Director of the Peace Corps. ?For the past 25 years, Peace Corps Response volunteers have shared their skills and expertise to impact global health, resilience and development. We are incredibly grateful for their service."
Formerly known as Crisis Corps, Peace Corps Response was formally established by Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan and President Bill Clinton to send returned Peace Corps volunteers to assist communities immediately following conflict and natural disasters abroad. In 2005, Response volunteers deployed in the U.S. for the first time in the program?s history, following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In 2012, Peace Corps Response expanded its mission to include additional, specialized assignments that engaged other qualified Americans with extensive professional experience.
Response volunteers serve in specialized assignments that range from three to 12 months. In addition to disaster relief, Response volunteers serve in all six of Peace Corps? sectors: agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth development. They are often the first on the ground when the agency opens a new country program, reopens a suspended program or pilots partnerships. Peace Corps Response most recently launched Advancing Health Professionals (AHP) in 2019. AHP aims to improve health care education and strengthen health systems on a societal level in resource-limited areas.
?By sending specialized volunteers to targeted assignments, we are helping to advance Peace Corps? mission of world peace and friendship,? said Sarah Dietch, Director of Peace Corps Response. ?Although Response volunteers are not working abroad right now, we are so honored to serve right here in the U.S., aiding in the fight against COVID-19.?
In March 2020, Peace Corps temporarily suspended its global operations and evacuated nearly 7,000 volunteers, including Peace Corps Response volunteers, from 61 countries due to the coronavirus.
About Peace Corps Response: Peace Corps Response sends experienced professionals on short-term, targeted service assignments around the world for 12 months or less. The positions are highly specialized and technical and Volunteers provide targeted assistance in areas such as agriculture, community economic development, disaster risk reduction and mitigation, education, environment, health, and youth in development. Since Peace Corps Response began in 1996, nearly 4,000 Americans have served in over 80 countries around the world. For more information, go to www.peacecorps.gov/response and follow us on Facebook.