Two new proposals by Trinity College students have been selected to receive Projects for Peace grants to fund their initiatives around the world during summer 2022.
Suzanne Carpe Elías ’22 and Federico Cedolini ’22 will pursue their project, “Mental Health Training for Peace: Building an Online Platform to Educate Families of Mental Health Patients in El Salvador,” and Daniel Santos Ramírez ’23 and Gabriel R. Sorondo Guirola ’23 will work with Venezuelan migrant youth for their project, “Proyecto Turpial: Diasporic Youth Encounters.”
Additionally, Nayantara Ghosh ’22—whose project was funded in 2020 but was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic—plans to implement her project, “The Magic School Bus: Bringing Mobile Education and Primary Healthcare to the Children of Short-Term Migrant Workers,” this summer in India.
Projects for Peace is a global program that encourages young adults to develop innovative, community-centered, and scalable responses to the world’s most pressing issues. Along the way, these student leaders increase their knowledge, improve skills, and establish identities as peacebuilders and changemakers. Projects for Peace headquarters is hosted by Middlebury College’s Center for Community Engagement. Trinity College has been a partner with Projects for Peace since 2007 and has had grantees complete 19 projects to date. See a list of all of the 2022 Projects for Peace here.
At Trinity, Projects for Peace is among the student research and engagement grants administered by the Center for Urban and Global Studies. For more information about Projects for Peace at Trinity, contact Associate Director of Grants and Fellowships Mark Hughes or Assistant Director of Urban Engaged Learning Gabby Nelson.
Read more about this summer’s Projects for Peace by Trinity students below:
Suzanne Carpe Elías ’22 and Federico Cedolini ’22
“Mental Health Training for Peace: Building an Online Platform to Educate Families of Mental Health Patients in El Salvador”
Carpe Elías, who is from Metapán, El Salvador, and is majoring in French and biology at Trinity, is the leader of her team’s project. She said that its main goal is to improve mental health education and awareness in El Salvador. “We will be doing this by creating a digital learning platform, similar to Khan Academy or Coursera, in which people can learn about mental health illnesses and how to better support those who have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder,” she said. “The project will help reduce the stigma and misinformation surrounding mental illnesses and mental health care.” The students also aim to create a short documentary about their project, their community partners, and the creation of the online platform.
For Carpe Elías, there is a personal connection to the project. “This project is very meaningful to me because I grew up in El Salvador, where no one really talked about mental health and its importance,” she said. “It was only when I got to Trinity and went to the Counseling and Wellness Center that I understood I had been suffering from anxiety for a very long time. I then realized the privilege of having access to mental health care and a good support system from people like Federico, who understood mental health illnesses, which most people back home unfortunately don’t have.”
Team member Cedolini, who is from Salta, Argentina, is majoring in computer science, with minors in models and data and applied mathematics. He said that this project will help provide opportunities for more people to talk about and access resources for mental health. “It is our responsibility, as people who have access to mental health resources, to make sure others can access them as well,” he said. “My experience as a computer science major and as a student worker for Trinity’s Library and Information Technology Services has given me the tools to succeed in the technical role I will be taking on, focusing on the development of the online platform.”
The team plans to return to Trinity to give a presentation about this project after it’s complete. “I really hope this inspires people to seek out help if they need to, and to know they are not alone in this journey,” Carpe Elías said. “I also hope that we can inspire other students in pursuing their passions and looking for opportunities to help others.”
Daniel Santos Ramírez ’23 and Gabriel R. Sorondo Guirola ’23
“Proyecto Turpial: Diasporic Youth Encounters”
In a context where the ongoing humanitarian crisis has forced one in every five Venezuelans to leave their home country, the project will gather young Venezuelan migrants with diverse backgrounds and demonstrated leadership potential in projects and initiatives. The project proposal said, “We will organize experiential, weekend-long retreats in three major cities of the Venezuelan diaspora in Latin America to establish baseline connections between them and develop their networking, project development, and communication skills.”
The project’s team members include: Santos Ramírez, an economics and political science double-major from Caracas, Venezuela; Sorondo Guirola, a Hispanic studies and theater and dance double-major from Caracas, Venezuela; and fellow Venezuelan migrants Isabella Picón and Pablo Duran.
The project is designed to connect and support Venezuelan migrant youth in Mexico City, Mexico; Bogota, Colombia; and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Santos Ramírez said, “Six million Venezuelan migrants have left the country. One of the biggest demographics is youth, so young people with potential for leadership have left. They are now unknown, unlinked, and uprooted. It’s important for them to engage with each other and the country. We want them to come out of these encounters emotionally connected to their country, and hopefully this will boost efforts on their parts to maybe create new initiatives to support people of their country.”
Sorondo Guirola said the project will show the Venezuelan diaspora youth how they can connect with their country. “This will help build a community of young changemakers to help the community grow,” Sorondo Guirola said. “Despite the ‘brain drain’ there has been in Venezuela, there is still hope.” He added that the grant funding will largely go toward preparations for and implementation of the project, including lodging, materials, and food for the encounters in the three cities.
Sorondo Guirola said that a presentation to the Trinity community after the project is complete will help raise awareness of the crisis in Venezuela. “As Daniel and I are two young changemakers, there are others who can do and will do work like this in different spheres,” he said. “We will let Trinity know that Venezuelans are everywhere and we are a force to be reckoned with. We are trying to give back to the community that led Daniel and I to where we are today.”
Nayantara Ghosh ’22
“The Magic School Bus: Bringing Mobile Education and Primary Healthcare to the Children of Short-Term Migrant Workers”
After being delayed for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ghosh plans to undertake her project, “The Magic School Bus: Bringing Mobile Education and Primary Healthcare to the Children of Short-Term Migrant Workers,” this summer in India. Ghosh is from Bangalore, India, and is majoring in political science and urban studies, with a minor in religious studies.
The goals of the project are to provide basic literacy skills to migrant children in Bangalore and to increase access to primary healthcare for migrants in the city. In order to reach children and families of seasonal construction workers who change residency frequently, Ghosh’s project proposes creating a mobile bus equipped with teachers and educational kits, to stop daily at various construction sites within the area of Koramangala, Bangalore, bringing literacy to the children of migrants. “Every two weeks, a small portion of the bus will be dedicated to the dispensation of mobile primary healthcare to all migrant families through a volunteer doctor,” Ghosh’s proposal said.
“As the COVID-19 situation in India continues to evolve, I foresee having to potentially make some changes to the project to ensure that it can be feasibly completed,” Ghosh said. “However, I am hoping that despite any changes that need to be made, I can preserve the spirit of the project in bringing education and healthcare resources to the children of migrant workers in Bangalore.”