GROWING MINDS (2008-13)
Our Global Partner:
Growing Hearts, Growing Minds was a student outreach organization begun by students participating in the Allegheny College 2009 Experiential Learning Seminar (EXL 594) to India, led by Dr. Sinha Roy. The organization's goals were public diplomacy and global citizenship. Students partnered with the Rotary Club of Bombay Midtown (India) to participate in an internationally recognized watershed rural development project led by the late Rtn. Arrow Sinha Roy, in Baste Village, near the city of Mumbai in western India.
Allegheny College student ambassadors built campus awareness about the water crisis in India due to deforestation, and how this exacerbates poverty, disease, and infant mortality. Fund raisers organized by Growing Hearts, Growing Minds supported educational initiatives in Baste village that included building a school house and equipping it with furniture and educational supplies, paying stipends to teachers, and providing students with a meal plan, while the Rotary Club of Bombay Midtown watershed project worked on creating sustainable development through reforestation, rain harvesting, and teaching women to use kitchen gardens as a source of food and revenue.
Click here to see a larger version of the image above
This collaborative project between the Rotary Club of Bombay Midtown and Allegheny College resulted in women's cooperatives that empowered its members to open bank accounts, support their children's education, improve the health of the community, and set up opportunities for vocational training for young adults. Today, Baste has realized how central water is to community health and development. In the final phase of the watershed project, the village completed a sanitation project. Now, every house has a working toilet and villagers no longer have to relieve themselves in the fields.
Over the years, Growing Heart Growing Hearts students who traveled to India and visited the village learned that effective public diplomacy and community-building involves an extended process of listening and intercultural learning, rather than simply importing and imposing a pre-determined model of development.