Gettysburg College students receive $10,000 to promote literacy in Nepal

Gettysburg College students Jacquelyn Powell and Sneha Shrestha received a $10,000 Davis Projects of Peace grant to establish a library at the Pancha Kanya School in Chauni, Kathmandu, Nepal.

The "Reading and Reflection Project" will be based in Kathmandu in conjunction with a Nepali-based nongovernmental organization, Socio-Perspective Alliance. The goal is to create a sustainable library , facilitate a six-week book workshop, and publish two culturally relevant bilingual children's books. The multi-dimensional project will encourage literacy and provide children with an educational outlet for self-expression and reflection.

"The children are currently in the middle of chaos and confusion after 10 years of civil war in the country," wrote Powell and Shrestha in their proposal. "Numerous schools have been shutdown and many students are forced to work to support their family's financial situation. In a country where more than 45 percent of the population is illiterate, Nepal cannot afford to lose its educated youth."

The project will address these issues on several levels through a collaborative effort with the community. The grant money will be used toward buying books and furniture for the library, craft materials and snacks for the book workshop, and publishing two bilingual books.

"Davis Projects for Peace" was an invitation to all undergraduates enrolled at any of the American colleges and universities in the Davis United World College Scholars Program to design grassroots projects that build peace in the 21st century. The grant money was made possible by Kathryn Wasserman Davis, an internationalist and philanthropist. Davis, mother of Shelby M.C. Davis who funds the Davis UWC Scholars Program, chose to celebrate her centennial birthday in 2007 by committing $1 million for program. Nearly 100 campuses will receive funding during the summer of 2009 for projects in all regions of the world.

"My many years have taught me that there will always be conflict. It's part of human nature. But love, kindness, and support are also part of human nature, and my challenge to these young people is to bring about a mindset of preparing for peace instead of preparing for war," said Kathryn Davis.

Powell is a senior from Madison, Va., who is majoring in environmental studies, Spanish-Latin American studies, and globalization studies. Shrestha is a junior from Kathmandu, Nepal, who is majoring in globalization studies.

Contact: Kendra Martin, director of media relations


Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Posted: Fri, 17 Apr 2009

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