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Changing the way we see the world: international service learning in Tanzania

Experiencing Tanzania: Program provides perspective

July 13, 2014 — 

WHAT: A U of M co-curricular international service-learning opportunity in Tanzania called ‘Badili Mtizamo’ means ‘change the way you see things’ in Swahili. This program is run jointly with Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief (CPAR) Tanzania, a small NGO working in the Bunda District of Mara Region.

HOW IT WORKS: So far, CPAR has hosted more than 25 U of M students from a variety of faculties including Arts, Education, Human Ecology, Medicine, Nursing and Social Work. The program enables students to hold an after-school program for girls and boys at two secondary schools. They explore themes relating to gender roles, human rights and health using experiential techniques like drama, song, organized games and interactive discussion. In 2014, the program is being implemented at Rubana and Kuzungu Secondary Schools, and more than 60 Tanzanian students will participate.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: “Getting students overseas to see the connections between the issues at home and how they are experienced elsewhere, how different people view problems and imagine solutions, and how their own disciplines can be interpreted in vastly differing ways depending on the environment, politics and culture, are important lessons,” says Tony Rogge, director of the International Centre for Students at the University of Manitoba. “Building bridges between people, and crossing boundaries, landscapes and socially constructed barriers are important skills for students to learn. ‘Helping-out’ isn’t about fancy trips and back-slapping high-fives. It’s about building a commitment over a lifetime. Where and how you do it, is up to you … The U of M students are there to learn about Tanzania, learn about the change process (and all it entails) and, most of all, learn about themselves. By reflecting intentionally on their experience, they can challenge their own perception of the world and their places in it, while facilitating a demand-driven educational program that doesn’t diminish or displace the beliefs, skills or work of local actors and volunteers. It’s about empowering students, not helping them.”

ITS REACH: “In addition to all the students and community members that we have touched via our program, U of M students have raised over $35,000 for CPAR’s maternal and child health programs,” says Rogge.

 


 

FUNDERS: Students are responsible for the costs associated with participating in this initiative. Some bursaries are available based on need.

 


 

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This new online initiative celebrates U of M collaborations with individuals and groups in Manitoba and across the globe that make an impact. We invite faculty, students and staff to share their stories at umanitoba.ca/community and help us further ‘dot’ the map of community engagement.

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