Sophia Alfaro: World Traveler With a Purpose

Name: Sophia Alfaro

Year: Senior

Major: Food and Nutrition Science

Age: 21

Hometown: Havana, Cuba

Relationship Status: Single

            Senior Sophia Alfaro’s goals are to foster love and capability within children and adolescents; she wants to help them believe they are capable of achieving anything they set their minds to while maintaining a very compassionate and motivating disposition with The Global Peace Exchange Program. As her trip to Nepal approaches, she hopes to learn about new values and let go of general standards set by our society and generation that tend to hinder us subconsciously. Ultimately, she wants to become a better leader and role model for those she works with in achieving a common goal.

Courtesy of: Sophia Alfaro

 

Her Campus (HC): Why did you decide to join Global Peace Exchange?

Sophia Alfaro (SA): I joined Global Peace Exchange (GPE) because I have always been doing community outreach programs, such as teaching Zumba classes at the Palmer Munroe Teen Center and tutoring little kids. However, after going to a service trip to Peru for 8 days, I wanted to do something more extensive where I could really immerse myself and that’s how I found GPE.

HC: What is Global Peace Exchange (GPE)?

SA: They are student lead organizations that focuses on community development and they take four projects each year to four different developing countries. When I went to one of their meetings I learned about Clinic Nepal, which I thought was a really well rounded project that fit all of my interests with health and sanitation, the environmental awareness, the English education and youth empowerment. I thought that was a really nice intersection of all the activities that I normally participate in locally.

HC: Since you chose Nepal as one of the developing countries to visit, what do you want to accomplish there?

SA: When I go this summer to Clinic Nepal, the program has four initiatives, we are going to be staying there for 8 weeks and the main initiative is fostering environmental awareness. We do this through our second initiative, which is youth empowerment and we basically get the adolescents of the community to get reusable bags to all the community members and we tell them the importance of trash pickup and to lead trash pickup. Through this we are teaching them leadership and it is also a way of them forming an identity for themselves. In another sense, they are passing one those values to their other members so then everybody is more aware of doing these practices. We also have a dustbin initiative, which facilitates waste disposal, where community members burn their trash and it is more sanitary. We are also focusing on health and sanitation with the little ones around the ages of 4-6 years old, we are teaching them songs and giving them toothbrushes and health kits, allowing them to grow up being sanitary and so [the practice] can spread. The last one is English education, so we will teach English for the community and for the teachers so they can teach English to the little kids, so it is a very well-rounded project and I’m very excited!

Courtesy of: Sophia Alfaro

 

HC: What do you hope to gain from this experience?

SA: From this experience I am looking to grow a lot personally and push past the boundaries that I have set. Also, to learn a new culture and immerse myself in there, as well as to learn about community development similar to the conditions that I am from, which is Cuba, but also completely different in culture. I want to know about their religion and how the children interact with each other in terms of their youth life.

HC: What inspired you to apply for this program?

SA: Well, I was born in Cuba, which is a very poor country and when I moved to America, I lived in a lot of bad neighborhoods and I grew up very poor. From rising out of poverty I really developed a passion to serving those in under-served communities not necessarily because I feel like they are in need of something, more so I want to give back to where I came from and contribute to that growth but also not impose anything on them because nothing was imposed on me. Also, because I want to become a physician and I want to learn to alleviate suffering as a whole and in an intimate way with people not just focusing on their diseases only. I feel like all of these experiences in this program adds to what I want to do as a future physician.