"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."
I was expecting that by this point in the summer I would have epic stories of assumptions torn apart, of partnerships won and lost, of ups and downs that led me to greater understandings and wisdom. On the contrary, this summer has been one of the quietest in the last four years.
The past month and a half have been pretty near perfect. I’ve been working on the most straightforward part of my summer work on $ocial Classmates – curriculum & facilitator training development. It has been immensely satisfying to spend a day immersing myself in readings and, using them, formulating next semester’s workshops. My knowledge of the subjects we cover has expanded to a great extent, as has my understanding of curriculum development. I now feel better equipped than ever to lead this group, knowing that my theoretical foundation is sound.
There have been bumps along the way of course, there always are. I had problems scheduling my time at the beginning, and had to devise a system of deadlines and accountability to keep myself on track. This was challenging, as I have never before worked in such a self-directed manner, and disciplining myself has never been something I’m keen to do. At first I thought that working alone on my own project would come naturally to me, since I take on so much during the school year. Not the case. Not having someone to report to or externally assigned deadlines to follow was hard, and my lackluster work ethic made me question my passion in $ocial Classmates as well as my ability to work independently. Thankfully, with the help of friends, I faced my problems in an honest way and devised a system that works for me. I have since implemented this system in other parts of my life, to varying degrees of success (I’m still not going to the gym every day…) In this process I learned uncomfortable things about myself, but also that by owning up to them I can and have overcome them. In addition to this challenge, I have had some managing-people problems, which I do not feel comfortable detailing in a public forum, but am happy to talk about in person.
On the whole though, work on $ocial Classmates has proceeded almost strangely according to plan. I will be working more with people in the following month, which I expect will bring a lot of problems but also a lot of opportunities for growth – they always seem to!
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