Two Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU) students have been chosen to design and undertake a Project for Peace. Nursing majors Andrea Zuluaga ’21 and Jenae Fernandes ’21 submitted one of 125 winning projects that are being awarded $10,000 each for implementation during the summer of 2019.
Zuluaga and Fernandes’ project centers around the community rebuilding effort of San Pio X Parish in Itagüí, Colombia. In 2018, the church collapsed during a 6.0 magnitude earthquake.
Choosing Colombia as the site for this project was an easy decision, says Zuluaga. “Colombia was my home for the first nine years of my life. I owe great gratitude to the country for providing me with great blessings, memories and joy as a child.”
In addition, Zuluaga and Fernandes hope to provide support to the children in the community by passing out rosaries and getting them involved in the rebuilding and having them make decorations. The idea is, the more people become involved, the more it will create a sense of pride and belonging and help residents have hope that not everything has been lost.
The church has been part of this community for 63 years and when residents found out Zuluago and Fernandes were going to help rebuild it, they were very excited. “The community was beyond thrilled and grateful that our award was granted,” says Zuluaga. “When we made the call to verify we received it, the screams and energy coming through the phone simple made our heart jump.”
Projects for Peace was the vision of philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis on the occasion of her 100thbirthday. Until her death at 106 in 2013, Mrs. Davis was intent on advancing the cause of peace and sought to motivate tomorrow's promising leaders by challenging them to find ways to "prepare for peace".
The Davis family continues to honor her legacy by funding Projects for Peace and is heartened by the quality and inventiveness of the projects to be undertaken this summer. This year, winning proposals included projects that addressed conflict resolution and reconciliation, fostered understanding and helped build/rebuild communities.
Community and service are things that Zuluaga says NDMU has instilled upon her, “it is impossible to attended [NDMU] and not feel a sense of service from faculty, staff and fellow students. [The University] promotes academic success along with outreach to those less fortunate.”
Margo Cuniffe, Director for International Education at NDMU agrees saying, “the students who participate in the Davis Projects for Peace are living out the Mission of the University. They are exercising leadership skills, serving others and building inclusive community through a project they may have helped to design, as well as fund and advance.”
NDMU is one of eight women’s colleges to make the list. Since its inception in 2007, 27 NDMU students have had their proposals for projects selected. This is the tenth time in eleven years that NDMU students have been awarded Projects for Peace. Previous projects have taken place in the Philippines, Peru, Bolivia and Kenya.
Check out the Projects for Peace website for more information.