Volunteer center kicks off social justice series

Sylwia Matlosz

Fifteen years after the Rwandan genocide, the country continues to rebuild internally and heal from the deaths of 800,000 Rwandans. However, the country remains scarred. The legacy of genocide extends to almost every sector of Rwandan society: survivors, orphaned children, the government and the perpetuators of ethnic violence.
How can Rwanda, marred by conflict, recover and restore peace? Does social justice play a role in conflict resolution and rebuilding? Floraine Robins-Brown, founder of the Rwandan orphanage Nibakure Children’s Village, will offer her insight to Lawrentians, focusing on the options for orphans in Rwanda and the role of NCV.
She will deliver her presentation on “Nibakure Children’s Village – Hope for Orphans in Rwanda” Oct. 27 at 5 p.m. in the Hurvis Room at the Warch Campus Center.
The mission of NCV is to provide orphans with a support system through housing, health care and education. Robins-Brown’s presentation will focus on the village Nibakure, whose name means “let them grow, give them hope.”
Her talk is part of the Social Justice Series, a program in which the Lawrence University Volunteer and Community Service Center invites a series of guest speakers, who are involved with projects related to social justice themes.
Speakers address the myriad of concerns and issues within social justice. Past presentations in 2008-09 have been dedicated to Wisconsin’s School-funding Crisis, Asylum for the World’s Battered Women, and Genocide in Rwanda.
The goal of the Social Justice Series is to provide Lawrentians with a framework to think about social justice topics and to encourage them to relate what they learn to assisting the community.
The next program in the series will highlight similar issues, but in the western African country of Burkina Faso. An international worker from Burkina Faso, Ben Stewart, will give a talk titled “[Encounter: West Africa] Dry Tears. Malnutrition. AIDS” Nov. 5 at 6:30 p.m. in the Kraemer Conference Room at the Warch Campus Center.
Future series for winter and spring term are currently being arranged.
Separate from the Social Justice Series, the volunteer center and SWAHP are raising poverty awareness. The organizations are co-sponsoring the Hunger Banquet, a poverty simulation, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Hurvis Room Oct. 29.
The Hunger Banquet separates participants into low-income, middle-income and high-income groups to demonstrate the inequalities in living conditions around the globe.
To learn more about the Social Justice Series and service-learning projects, contact the Volunteer and Community Service Center at volunteer.center@lawrence.edu.

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