Women’s Studies Minor, Amelia Poulin is completing an internship with Tariro this semester and we are happy to share with you her first post from the Tariro blog about herself and her involvement in this organization. Tariro is a grassroots non-profit organization founded by Dr. Jennifer Kyker, Assistant Professor of Musicology. The organization does work in Zimbabwe to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS by educating young women and girls. We are always happy to have such remarkable students represent SBAI!
Hello followers of the Tariro blog! My name is Amelia and I’m the new intern.
I’m attending the University of Rochester which is home to the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies. Through this department, I am able to help out Tariro and receive University credit. Although I’m studying for a degree in Biochemistry, I have always been interested in issues of social justice, and have incorporated Women’s Studies classes into my schedule to get a more informed opinion.
Social Justice through Education
It has always bothered me that the family, geographical region, and culture someone was born into has such an influence on their ability to succeed and live comfortably.
Socio-economic differences within the western world alone seem to have quite an effect on the opportunities available to individuals, but being disadvantaged in the western world is quite different than being disadvantaged in the third world. Western teens accustomed to privilege may choose to not take their education seriously, because they have options to fall back on, whether it be support from parents, family, or society.
However, in areas of Africa the ability to attend school may be the only opportunity to improve your family’s socioeconomic standing and to provide your siblings with some security.
My Motivations in Working with Tariro
I’m privileged enough to be receiving an education, and so it only seems fair that I take advantage of my resources to help provide educational opportunities to individuals who weren’t born into the same circumstances.
I think Tariro is particularly effective in addressing social justice because it recognizes the interplay between the HIV/AIDS epidemic and education. Prior to looking at the Tariro website, I hadn’t realized the extent education plays in combating transmission. Yet this quote from the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS says it all:
Evidence from Zimbabwe shows that among 15-18 year old girls, those who are enrolled in school are more than five times less likely to have HIV than those who have dropped out.
If education can help reduce the spread of HIV, and a reduced impact of HIV means that more teens are able to get an education, then a strong effort should be taken to get this virtuous cycle started if we hope to improve the living conditions of individuals in HIV affected regions. I would very much like to be a part of this effort and am excited to get started working with Tariro to make this change happen.
I plan on updating the blog regularly, so keep a look out for future posts!