The Sponsor a Child Initiative (SCI) is an educational capacity building initiative formed in April 2015 by the students that are sponsored by the Student Refugee Program (SRP) at the University of British Columbia (UBC). These students, in collaboration with other UBC students are working towards giving back to the community. The initiative aims to sponsor South Sudanese high school refugee children in Kenya. In addition, this initiative (SCI) will foster community involvements by creating dialogues and round-table discussions to engage the community, UBC students, and faculty members to enhance their understanding of living, learning and teaching in the refugee camps.
By doing so, it would broaden their perspectives on international understanding and experiences. Moreover, the initiative will educate students on specific areas of interests; particularly those that are affecting refugees’ education, by creating awareness at UBC and engagement to the entire community. In the long run, the initiative may expand to provide summer internships for UBC students overseas. Through participating in this initiative, it will heighten students’ leadership and relational skills as well by opening up opportunities for them to foster international development through volunteering in the club projects and related activities.
HOW DOES THIS INITIATIVE MATTER?
With the mission statement that, We may not have enough but we want to leave things a little bit better than we find them, SCI champions Support and Unity of purpose as the key drivers for success and development. This will be enhanced through the following standings;
a) INTERNATIONAL ENGAGEMENT AND/OR INTERCULTURAL UNDERSTANDING
Founded and run by domestic students, the initiative has three main targets:
(1) The needy students oversees, who are fleeing conflicts from their countries of origin
(2) The UBC Students, who initiate, run, fund and implement the project
(3) The Local and international researchers and faculties, who have focus in education and global crises.
The main goal of this initiative is to form a collaboration that would work toward achieving a future where all youth are able to learn in safe and supportive environments, develop meaningful skills and actively participate in the development of their communities.
To implement the above focuses, this initiative will create forums that will pull many intellectuals from different backgrounds together. Through these dialogues, the initiative will address education and many intercultural and international issues that are impacting education.
While the short-term goal of this initiative is to bring people together to discuss the theme of capacity building through education with the focus on South Sudanese refugees, the initiative will foresee the implementation of the generated ideas and funds. This will involve elaborate structuring of the implementation process. The end goal of this initiative is to create an interface through which students engagement meets with academic needs for intercultural understanding, supports, relation building and enhancement of research on issues pertaining development and exchange of knowledge.
C) ENGAGEMENT WITH UBC STUDENTS COMMUNITY
This initiative will enhance students’ involvement through participation in the project planning by volunteering in advertising activities such as distributing event flyers, posters, updating website, doing classroom event announcement, sending out mails, acting as ushers and facilitators. They will also get involve in panel discussions and the round-table forums, which would broaden the students’ perspectives on international understanding and experiences. In addition, the initiative will educate UBC students on specific areas of interests, particularly those affecting refugees’ education, to create awareness at UBC and engagement to the UBC students. In the long run, this initiative may expand to provide summer internships for UBC students overseas. By participating in these initiatives, it will enhance their leadership and relational skills as well by opening up opportunities for UBC students to foster international development through volunteering in the project
d) RESEARCH AND FACULTY INVOLVEMENTS
One of the objectives of this initiative is to open forums for the exchange of knowledge on global issues that would complement the classroom learning, expose students to cultivate the realities from the concepts learned in books while broadening students’ perspectives in areas like political crises, conflict management, refugee crises, immigration, and their impacts on education and the economic development. Researchers and professors who are interested in areas like Education, International Relation, Political science and other related fields would find it valuable to collaborate with a dedicated team of students who are passionate, experienced and are ready to give back to their own communities while contributing to the diversification of ideas in the university.