"My name is Gwendolene Mugodi and I am a writer and the founder of Paivapo Storytellers, a movement that aims to provide better access to local, good quality literature to the children in Zimbabwe--and eventually beyond. Our work would not be complete without the help of local artists like Abel Zvorufura who I met through the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. As two different artists we spent about a month and a half going back and forth on this book until we got to a place we were both happy with. I look forward to sharing that full book in a few months, but for now here's a little bit about Abel and why he does what he does."
An Incubation Period
Rainfall here in Baroda makes it feel more like the Arabian Sea is making plans to expand to the east. The power has been on and off for few hours now, and in the distance I see women in colorful saris secure tarp around the sides of their homes. It's too hazy to see the sunset, but I can spot the soft glow of candle flames flickering through cracks in doors and windows.
Time is going by shockingly fast. The scary realization that summer is more than halfway over is starting to settle in. Of course, I miss my friends, family, and my American lifestyle. So why is it that I don't have the heart to leave this country?
Another question that's been itching in my mind recently is, What's next? I've been spending this beautiful summer here in India working to understand and help improve child and maternal malnutrition in Mota Fofalia, I've had the great opportunity to meet many people who are committed to this cause, and I've worked very hard with my amazing, capable, and dedicated team here to implement the community child malnutrition program. Even though a great amount of progress has been made with Mota Fofalia's community-based malnutrition prevention program (the government of Gujarat is considering implementing Mota Fofalia's model into other communities), I can't ignore the enormity of deaths and disabilities that malnutrition causes nation-wide. However, I'm positive that this work and my involvement with it will continue once I leave Mota Fofalia.
Through courses I've taken, I've researched and written numerous papers on the social causes of child and maternal health in India; however, by living here in Gujarat, I've learned a lot more than I've ever had the chance to learn before in such little time. The intricate network of root causes of malnutrition, including social, occupational, and gender roles, brings so much more into question than simply the problem of poverty. Because I've continually challenged myself with the question of what difference my being here this summer makes, I've learned how difficult it is to actually make change as an "outsider". And, I've learned that as unorganized as India can seem to be, things work somehow and people are genuinely happier here than I've noticed in the US. This optimism and simple honesty of people I've met is incredibly inspiring. The vision of a community with zero cases of severe acute malnutrition is shared by each person in Mota Fofalia, and this is the main reason that the community malnutrition program has picked up with such great momentum.
Even though this enriching summer ends soon, I realize that it is an incubation period for me to absorb as much as I possibly can from this community. This is just the beginning, and there is so much more to do.
August 11, 2016
June 13, 2016
Lauren Maunus '19 is starting a bold new venture.
Its goal: To help eliminate food waste and bring healthy, affordable food to "food swamps" in Rhode Island and beyond.
March 15, 2016"If little girls like me were saying Barbie is the pretty one and the brown one is the ugly one, that's a problem."
Yelitsa Jean-Charles studies Illustration at RISD with a a concentration in Gender, Race & Sexuality. She identifies as a visual activist, and believes that artists have a responsibility as society’s image-makers. Her doll company and book series, Healthy Roots, combats internalized racism and colorism by getting to the root of the problem: altering beauty standards and cultviating self-love for young girls through education, diversity, and positive representation.
March 12, 2016An Excerpt
Mina is a Brown-RISD Social Innovation Fellow. She traveled to her home in Iran last summer and brought back a cultural souvenir: the book she wrote, Taste of Culture. She explores Iranian families, streets, stores and the stories and spirit embedded in the recipes of Iranian food. She hopes to start a conversation about the benefit of knowing cuisines of different cultures to connect societies.
This year's class of Brown-RISD Social Innovation Fellows have just begun their yearlong foray into the world of social entrepenuership. Check out their projects here.
December 16, 2015
Ria is a 2015 Social Innovation Fellow and co-founder of No Country for Women (NCFW), an internationally-recognized gender education initiative that aims to combat systemic gender-based discrimination in India. Ria and her co-founder, Shreena Thakore ’16, who grew up in India, were awarded the Projects for Peace fellowship and used this grant to launch the project in May of 2014. NCFW was set up to educate the people in India on gender, rape culture, and misogyny through a series of workshops and initiate informed discussions about social change.
I was inspired by Ria’s story because she was determined to start a conversation about an issue in a country that fights hard to keep such issues silent and hidden. We reflected on Ria’s experiences, her interactions with young people, most of whom had never thought about this obvious form of discrimination before, and her moments of self-doubt and extreme conviction.
October 2, 2015