The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives completely, forcing us to rethink our routines and how we conduct things. It has certainly been a time of hardship for millions, and perhaps you, the reader. Among the institutions that have fared the worst, education certainly ranks among their numbers. Education around the world has struggled, a lack of schooling and in-person learning impacting well over one billion children. The crisis has forced us to rethink the way we educate, and to reevaluate how we as humans learn. But within the education community, those who have faced the greatest perils are those from other countries: international students.
Joanita Senoga started Circle of Peace International (COPI) in 2010. From her own lived experiences, she found a passion for teaching and helpful others, and started COPI as a way to help Ugandan students who had just arrived in the United States. COPI has provided education, housing, and shelter to countless Ugandan children and students, giving them opportunity where there would not be otherwise. Like many other schools across the United States, COPI was hit by COVID-19. While other schools received loads of federal funding, COPI is not a public school, and thus, received less funding. While COPI managed to stay afloat, funds were needed, primarily for funding classrooms and paying for a national test in Uganda. Partnering with Givology, Joanita and COPI have worked with Givology to make these funds possible.
The fundraiser was a resounding success. Creating baskets, scarves, bowls, and other crafts, COPI founded an online store, selling handmade, artisan crafts from Uganda. Each craft is unique in design and is similar in look and quality to what you would find in a gift or antique shop – for a far better price. Together, with Givology, COPI hosted a speaker and auction event on September 19th. Co-heads Cynthia Chang, Narayan Kini and Nicolas Nemati hosted the event in conjunction with COPI. Joanita, along with COPI students, spoke about the difficulties of international education, and students themselves spoke their own lived experiences. By the end of the event, Givology had raised hundreds of dollars, and has raised several hundred more since the event.
COPI is a light in the darkness for many international students. The pandemic has made clear the hardships educators and students alike face in a ever expanding world, and it is up to organizations like COPI and Givology to create lasting change at the lowest level and empower the next generation of students to change the world. Over one hundred items remain on COPI’s website, waiting to be sold. If you, the reader, would like to contribute to COPI’s missions, please visit https://circle-of-peace.myshopify.com for more information.
Givology Staff's Blog
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