Empowering Women Globally through the Peace Corps

Last week ended Women’s History Month, but raising awareness shouldn’t. Not just nationally, but globally, you…yes YOU can make an impact in an awesomely engaging way to the women of the world all the while traveling it!

I’m sure most of you have heard about the Peace Corps and what they do, but recently I attended a meeting for the organization here on campus, “Empowering Women Globally.” Four speakers, alumni of Florida State University, and past experience traveling with the Peace Corps took time out of their night to come and spread a beautiful and enticing experience available to each and every one of you—boys and girls, from any and every school! Below are one of the speaker’s stories as well as a general description of requirements, the application process, and benefits (besides becoming a true humanitarian):

Jamie Cliburn: Community Economic Development Volunteer

Jamie was stationed in South America, and engaged the citizens in numerous activities who reside in a tiny village TWO hours away via paddle boat to the nearest town. Here are some workshops she partook in that helped spread empowerment of women across the globe:

HIV/AIDS: Jamie gave lessons on how the disease is developed, spread, and managed. She revealed the truth about stigmas regarding the sick, and even the simplest education on how to wear a condom.

 “Homemade Soap Project:” Here she took all of the women in the village and the extra, unused palm and coconut oil, and taught them how to make bars of soap out of it. No longer did the women have to rely completely on their “transient” husband’s income, as they could use the soap as well as sell it! How cool?

Camp Glow (Girls Leading Our World): This is something done by many everywhere in the Peace Corps. Here the basics of camping, safety, skills, lessons, and games are taught in an engaging way! I found it interesting when Jamie spoke about her asking the girls simple questions like, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” The response? “I just want to be a mom in the village.” All it takes is for one voice to expand their thought of options that they can aim to go to school, and become professionals; they just need to hear, like they did from Jamie, that it is possible.

Side Note: A story that really hit me hard in illustrating just how uneducated these women and men are, was regarding that beautiful time of month for females, our periods. When Jamie was talking to one of the village moms, she was told how this is considered a “sickness.” When women are on their periods, there is a shack they have to go to, you cannot be around men(because they might catch the bug???), and can only cook for yourself so the “disease” does not spread. There are even different paths to walk during the week. Hearing this, Jamie exchanged with her the truth and the freedom in America that we take for granted and enjoy so mindlessly.

Take action like Jamie did, spread the word of science, truth and freedom to you sisters around the world! At the end of the meeting a short Q&A was held, here is what was discussed:

“What was the hardest part?”

“The things you think, loneliness, keeping busy, cross culture misunderstanding, homesick, seeing the standards of living.”

“What did you find the most beautiful?”

“The little things, showing them success not failure.”

“Peace Corps is exceptional, it embeds a single American into a community. What’s developed after 27 months is just like early settlers to America, and is a very intimate cultural exchange that is so rich.”

General Facts:

  • The Peace Corps is in more than 60 countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific.
  • Volunteers have the opportunity to work in: agriculture, Peace Corps response, youth in development, environment, community economic development, health, and education!
  • 94% of volunteers have at least an undergraduate degree.
  • There is no upper age limit, though volunteers usually range in age from 20-79.
  • Nearly 220,000 Americans have served; that’s more than 6,800 annually!!

Fun Facts:

  • The length of service is 2 years.
  • Volunteers live in the communities they serve, from small rural villages to large urban cities.
  • Unlike many other international volunteer programs, there is no fee to participate in the Peace Corps.

Benefits:

  • Pay and vacation time
  • Full medical and dental coverage
  • Student loan assistance
  • Financial assistance for graduate school programs
  • Transition funds
  • Professional skills
  • Job search services
  • Employment advantages in the federal government

What are you afraid of? Go make a difference!

For more detailed information visit their website.