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Indiana University Trek to Nicaragua

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”- Nelson Mandela

Through the collective efforts of the Indiana University Panhellenic community, $40,000 was raised and a team comprised of myself along with eight other undergraduates and two advisors traveled to the community of El Toro, Nicaragua for an unforgettable Circle of Sisterhood School Build or Trek experience.

By living with host families who took each of us in with infinite love, working on the construction site with shovels and pick axes side by side our host mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, participating in daily cultural workshops including a chat specifically with the women of the community, and focusing on daily reflections, our team developed a sense of responsibility to share our experiences with others to multiply our impact and spread the word about the importance of education.

One memorable afternoon on the Trek, our team visited the dilapidated temporary school structure present in the community. Here we interacted with all of the bright-eyed children who will be attending the new school. This visit left the biggest impact on me personally. Seeing firsthand how thrilled these loving children were to be able to attend the new school gave me hope. The single most important way to empower youth is through education and with the power of education anything can be possible. I think back on the brave kids in the classroom who shared with us their favorite subjects, and what they wanted to be when they grew up teachers, lawyers, doctors, and nurses. I hope that with their education they can achieve anything they set their mind to.

Lastly I will never forget my host family. It was an excruciating experience learning that my two teenage sisters did not have the means to attend school any longer and my mother could not read or write. I felt incredibly helpless especially knowing that the school we would be leaving would not help them directly. This put a lot of things into perspective for me and forced me to look at the bigger picture at hand. The picture that maybe my sister’s children, or their children’s children would have the opportunity to attend school.

To really make a difference we cannot simply give money or give things to the people we are trying to help, we must empower them through education in order for them to be the change within.

Ultimately this entire project would not have been possible without the Circle of Sisterhood, and my incredible support system, and I am so thankful for those who donated their effort, time, and money along the way.

Check out photos of our Trek and our school’s progress here!


This blog was written by Sydney Twiggs a graduate of Indiana University, with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and minors in Dance, Spanish, and Psychology. She is a Phi Mu who served as the former Vice President of Community Involvement for the Indiana University Panhellenic Executive Council and as her chapter’s Philanthropy Chairman. This fall she will start school at the Indiana University School of Dentistry.

Want to share your Circle of Sisterhood story? Contact Mia McCurdy at blog@circleofsisterhood.org

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