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Carleton duo honored with prestigious Davis Peace Grant Rafiq ‘13 and Blumberg ‘13 hope to bridge ‘class gap’ in Pakistan

<rleton sophomores Sana Rafiq and Yoni Blumberg have received a $10,000 Davis Peace Grant for their service project “Volunteer for Lahore.” The Peace grant is from the international philanthropist Kathyrn Davis who annually gives away $1 million to fund 100 college students’ international grassroots projects. This is the fifth time that Carls have been received the prestigious grant.

Blumberg and Rafiq’s project aims to connect Lahore University students with impoverished children, ages 9-15 years old, from Teach a Child School (TAC), through volunteer work in hopes to bridge the class gap in Pakistan. Their goal is to create peace through social responsibility and common ground between the university and TAC students.

An emphasis on establishing a sense of empathy is also stressed to foster amity between the two groups. “The program will focus on mentoring the students from TAC in public speaking skills and art,” said Blumberg. “It will also include a service aspect in which both the university students and TAC students volunteer in the community together.”

The two Carleton students started to think about the project after talking to Professor Ciner from the SOAN department. “I am very passionate about service,” said Rafiq. “[Ciner] motivated us to draft a strong proposal that reflected our interest and incorporated our passion.” Blumberg and Rafiq started drafting ideas for the project at the beginning of fall term. They worked together, along with Ciner, to perfect the proposal before submitting it to Davis Projects for Peace. “Once we finished revising our idea we wrote the proposal and the budget, submitted it, and were fortunate enough to be selected,” Blumberg said.

The project will begin in early June and wrap up mid-August. But the project won’t end there. “We will follow this program up with publicity efforts, outreach to other NGOs and charities to increase their interest in mobilizing volunteers, as well as by recruiting student volunteers to go back to their respective institutions and start volunteer groups.” Blumberg said. “We will also be building a website to connect the organizations looking for volunteers to help them with their mission with the students and other community members who are looking to volunteer.”

Added Rafiq, “We would like to ensure this platform is both sustainable and scalable so it can be expanded in the future.”

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