Snapshots: The impact of Periclean Scholars Classes over the years
There are two separate but interconnected impacts of the Periclean Scholars program. One is the impact it has on current students and the lasting change this makes in these lives on into the future as Elon and Periclean alumni. I have posted about this impact previously and will author more posts on this topic in the next several months.
The other main impact of the program -and the one that is the topic of this post- is the change that it has made in the lives of our many partners around the world. Before I go on it must be emphasized that the impacts between Pericleans and partners have never been -nor were ever intended to be- unidirectional. Quite the opposite is the case. Individual Pericleans, Periclean Classes and the program as a whole have gained enormously -intellectually, emotionally, professionally and otherwise- from the people and organizations with which we have partnered. For that we owe a massive debt of thanks to the long list of people and organizations that have allowed us into their lives.
Separate long posts -and even short books- could (and should!) be written about the impact that every Class has had on the lives of people in our countries of focus, but for the sake of being concise, here are some “snapshots” of this impact, year by year.
Class of 2006: The four documentaries the ’06’s produced were screened widely domestically and internationally, used by the US Peace Corps in Namibia for training purposes, and purchased for distribution by Thomson Higher Education with their Introduction to Sociology and Introduction to Anthropology texts. The partnerships with the US Embassy in Windhoek, Catholic AIDS Action and Lironga Eparu are still active, and HIV+ AIDS activist Anita Isaacs is currently being supported by the Periclean Foundation as she gets her degree in social work from the University of Namibia. Number of lives impacted: impossible to determine but into the 10’s of thousands.
Class of 2007: Many of the ’07’s have maintained contact with Hope for Honduran Children and other aid organizations in Honduras. Class of 2007 alumnae Natasha Christensen was honored as the Alumni Service Award recipient at Elon in 2013 and has been one of the most active members of the Periclean Foundation. Perhaps their main legacy is carving a path for the Class of 2016 which has “recycled” Honduras as their country of focus. Number of lives impacted: impossible to determine but into the thousands.
Class of 2008: Their partnership with Schools for Chiapas, based in San Diego, California and in Oventic, Chiapas, Mexico is long and productive. Their documentary Painting Without Permission was duplicated (500 copies) and distributed widely in the United States and currently available through the Schools for Chiapas web site. The people of Suytic in Chiapas continue to benefit from the efforts of the ’08’s and the relationship between Schools for Chiapas and renowned muralist Gustavo Chavez Pavon was moved forward by the Pericleans has continued to bear the fruit of beautiful and revolutionary murals in Mexico, all in service to the cause of the EZLN, the people of Chiapas, and in solidarity with the indigenous all around that world. Number of lives impacted: impossible to determine but into the 10’s of thousands.
Class of 2009: Partnering with Habitat for Humanity-Internation in Zambia led to a January 2009 build of two homes in the village of Kawama, near Ndola, but the work of the ’09’s was just beginning during that experience as they met with community members to imagine ways to sustain the partnership. These efforts led directly to a second build in Kawama in 2011 and a deeper partnership with HfH-I staffer Voster Tembo. Though his work and in partnership with village leaders, the Zambian Development Support Foundation is now in its third year of making small business loans to primarily female Habitat home owners in Kawama and in a second habitat village near Ndola. The Class of 2018 will “recycle” Zambia and be able to leverage ties forged by the ’09’s. Number of lives impacted: impossible to determine but into the thousands.
Class of 2010: Dr. Francis Amedahe visited Elon on a Fulbright in 2006-07 and in the words of Mentor Dr. Heidi Frontani, he believes that the acceptance of the national insurance cards at the facility has made a notable difference in the number of people using the facility (and the nurses have requested more beds because numbers are up), but that has only been since around 2013 or so. I think the big impact is that 10,000 people or so now have access to year-round health care who did not.” This is in reference to a clinic complex in the village of Kpoeta (including the clinic proper, nurses quarters, a pharmacy and a kindergarden) made possible by the Class of 2010. This Class has made yearly substantial contact with the people of Kpoeta, sustaining both financial and human resources. That there is a two way impact of these partnerships is demonstratively evidenced in the lives of many 2010’s who now have careers related to their undergraduate work in Ghana. Number of lives impacted: impossible to determine but into the 10’s of thousands.
Class of 2011: The documentary produced by the Class of 2011 “Elephant in the Room” was alone a great accomplishment and it directly paved the way for a documentary produced by the Class of 2012 (see next). The partnerships created by the Class of 2011 to organize the Leaders in Environmental Advocacy Forum (LEAF) are sustained in many ways by ’11 alumni, as are their connections to the middles schools with which they partnered both in Sri Lanka in Burlington, NC. Mentor Crista Arangala recently completed a 9-month Fulbright experience at the University of Colombo, the host institution for LEAF. Number of lives impacted: impossible to determine but into the thousands.
Class of 2012: The documentary Health for All produced by the ’12’s drew the interest of officials from Izmir, Turkey and -very long story short- led to the construction of the Izmir Training Centre on the Comprehensive Rural Health Project (CRHP) campus. This modern US$100,000 2,000+ square foot facility is in constant use as CRHP hosts groups from around the world for their training courses. The third Periclean Fellow (in a now well established Elon program) is currently working as a full time intern at CRHP supporting the work of the training centre and general CRHP administration. Dr. Martin Kamela, 2012 Mentor, completed a year-long service experience at CRHP where he established a state of the art science training centre on the campus serving the surrounding community. The CSR-Nonprofit Summit was also replicated and took place in 2013. Number of lives impacted: impossible to determine but into 10’s of thousands.
Class of 2013: The intrepid 2013’s were the first “gringo’s” to set foot in the isolated Chiapan village of Piedra Parada and came back with a more complete story about immigration from Mexico to North Carolina -and back- by residents here in Alamance County. The partnership they created with local Hispanic
women Hogares Sanos (“Healthy Homes”) was the subject of a Master of Public Health thesis by Courtney Latta (Periclean Scholars Class of 2009) and is now being sustained by the Class of 2016. A partnership with a local Hispanic activist led to the publication of the story of one family from Piedra Parada, and you can buy Aqui y Alla online. Number of lives impacted: impossible to determine but into the thousands.
Class of 2014: The first to have a location in the United States as their focus, the Class of 2014 forged deep and meaningful partnerships with people and organizations in Appalachia. Through the Periclean Foundation they continue their support of these partnerships but perhaps more meaningfully they worked with Elon’s Kernodle Center for Service learning to insure that every fall break there will be Elon students traveling to and working with the people and partners established by the Class of 2014. The material contributions they made over their many travels to West Virginia still have an impact, but each 2014 knows that the larger impact is the personal contacts that they made and are currently being sustained. Number of lives impacted: impossible to determine but into the thousands.