Recent graduate Shruti Patel ‘11 has been keeping busy during her first year as a Peace Corps volunteer, as she is developing a special education
program, promoting sexual health among girls and teaching dance.
Patel, who is spending two years as a volunteer on the island nation of Grenada in the West Indies, spoke Monday afternoon to a small group of faculty, staff and students involved with the Peace Corps Prep Program, describing her experiences thus far via a Skype call.
Patel emphasized the freedom she is given to start programs based on the needs of a particular community.
“A lot of what you do in Peace Corps just depends on what you encounter in the community, what the community wants and also what your interests are,” Patel said. “It’s very easy to get overwhelmed or overworked, because there are so many opportunities to start projects.”
Patel’s primary assignment is developing an elementary special education program, with which she helps students with learning disabilities.
She is also working on a project called “Camp GLOW,” or “Girls Leading Our World,” a girls’ empowerment camp piloted by a Peace Corps volunteer in Romania in 1995. The camp, she said, focuses on things like HIV awareness, sexual health and gender norms.
“It’s based on the idea that empowering women will contribute to the development of a nation,” Patel said. This is the second time Grenada has hosted the camp.
Patel also spends some of her time teaching everything from modern to folk dance as an after-school program for secondary school students, and she is working on a world map mural at one of the schools.