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AVENIR 2012
Communication, Education and Society AVENIR






Projet d'Engagement Communautaire au Kenya (PECK)

Communication, Education and Society AVENIR



Projet d'Engagement Communautaire au Kenya (PECK)
Université de Montréal

In Wagusu, Kenya, the daily lives of young children bear no resemblance to those of youngsters over here; a significant number of them are orphaned and lack access to education. In a desire to break this vicious circle of poverty, Jade Scott-Giasson and David Paré, two students at the Université de Montréal, set up a community involvement program inviting medical students at their university to get actively involved in order to do just this, to change the day to day lives of these children.

“In the summer of 2011, we participated in the daily activities at the Wagusu orphanage. We realized that most of their woes stemmed from a lack of knowledge and, as such, education. The two weeks we spent immersed in their realities made us aware that we could do more to help them,” Jade explains.

Their outreach project, established as soon as they returned home, has already yielded results. “We are truly impressed by these students,” says the director of the local organization Kenya Voluntary & Community Development Project (KVCDP). “They offer hope to young orphans who can now aspire to a brighter future,” adds Jackline Ouko, the local KVCDP coordinator.

More specifically, Jade and David’s community outreach program is structured around three different areas. The first addresses accessibility to education through a sponsorship system with first year medical students at the Université de Montréal à Trois-Rivières. To date, 12 children between the ages of two and seven have been sponsored. With a $25 donation per month for each child, the KVCDP provides all the necessary school supplies, food every day and a monthly medical check-up and follow-up provided by local staff.

“Through this type of approach, we focus on education, which we believe is the best solution for motivating youngsters to persevere in life. Education will open the doors to new opportunities and enable them to break free of the difficult constraints of illness and poverty. This is all the more relevant for the girls, since their education is not considered a necessity in Kenyan villages,” the project’s spokesperson points out.

The second highlighted area involves raising funds through an annual campaign, in order to finance long-term projects aimed at improving the variety and quality of the orphans’ diet (for example, by building a henhouse). Additional projects are also in the making: the purchase of malaria prevention bed nets, funding for the construction of a fence around the garden, etc. The fund-raising campaign calls mainly on the collaboration of medical students in their preparatory year.

The third area of action gives students the chance to take part in a humanitarian aid internship, be it medical or not, in the community.

“The reason we want students from all the different levels to take part is that we hope to ensure the project’s sustainability by making certain that there’s always a new group to take charge. We want to make them understand that they have the means of bringing about change over there, of making a difference,” Jade adds, her voice full of hope.



Projet d'Engagement Communautaire au Kenya (PECK)



From left to right : David Paré et Jade Scott-Giasson


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