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Kennesaw State University Students Provide Humanitarian Aid

When you think of Jamaica you likely envision an all-inclusive retreat where the food is meticulously prepared, the drinks are endless, and the beaches are pristine. The luxurious resorts of Montego Bay and Ocho Rios are favorite tourist destinations. However, not far from these pleasures is a side of Jamaica we often hear little about. This area is known as the slums, or ghettos. Thousands live here without electricity or indoor plumbing, in crumbling shacks with gaping holes, which welcome snakes, insects and rainfall. This is the side of the country officials would rather people not learn about.

Nancy Prochaska, associate professor in the Department of Management in Kennesaw State’s Michael J. College of Business is connecting with Shannon Ferketish, professor of University Studies. Together, they are leading a humanitarian effort called, Leadership and Service in Northern Jamaica. “During the 2012 Christmas break, we will accompany 10 KSU students to Annotto Bay, a town in the northern parish of St. Mary, Jamaica. Our goal is to build a one room, 20-by-20 foot house between December 14th and 21st. Right now, we’re busy collecting supplies – everything you can think of – lumber, tools, furniture, baby beds, household items like sheets, and even books and school supplies. In addition to building the home, our students will tutor youngsters at a local school. Meanwhile, other volunteers will help residents improve their carpentry and electrical skills. Collected items will be placed in a huge container and shipped to Jamaica, courtesy of the organization, “Food for the Poor.”

Joseph Willingham, a KSU student traveling with this Study Abroad group, has designed a solar powered water heater and will offer a workshop at KSU on the construction for others who would like to use this model, possibly in other areas of the world with a lack of hot water. Once in Annotto Bay, we will show the townspeople the construction process, making this a sustainable project. KSU’s Students in Free Enterprise organization has donated supplies for the construction of these two water heaters in Jamaica.

Students participating in the humanitarian project will receive class credit, but more importantly they will be given the opportunity to make a global impact. Prochaska says before embarking on the trip, students will be required to do lots of research on the history of Jamaica. “We expect them to have an awareness of global poverty. Students must also be familiar with the Jamaican economy, geography, culture and cuisine. They will also study farming methods because Northern Jamaica is a very agricultural region.”

Prof. Ferketish says the goal of the trip is to give the students a chance to implement strategies learned in the classroom. “This study abroad is a great opportunity for students to hone their leadership skills while putting theory into practice and serving others on a global level. Prochaska notes, “Students will return with a realization of synergy, that collectively addressing a situation can have a huge impact.“Engage KSU” is a new program including global engagement, and I am encouraged that our university is extending the view beyond our walls. There is a role for all of us to play. There is something each of us can do to make a difference. If you can carry a two-by-four, I have a job for you in Jamaica.” If you would like to learn how you can contribute to the ‘Leadership and Service in Northern Jamaica’ project, contact Nancy Prochaska at 770-499-3513, or Shannon Ferketish to 678-797-2863.



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