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Two students awarded grants for Davis Projects for Peace

The Kathryn Wasserman Davis 100 Projects for Peace program has announced it will fund two Connecticut College student projects, including the first project to be completed in Vietnam. The program, designed to encourage and support motivated youth to create and implement their ideas for building peace throughout the world in the 21st century, invites students from partner schools in the Davis United World College Scholars Program to submit plans for grassroots projects for peace. Selected projects are funded with a $10,000 grant.

Connecticut College was one of only nine institutions this year to receive funding for multiple projects. Phuong Le, a Connecticut College junior from Hanoi, Vietnam, will return to her native country to launch a summer camp for children with intellectual disabilities. The camp, Le said, will provide the children with essential life skills to help them become more self-sufficient and independent and engage local high school students, who will serve as volunteer counselors, in a positive, community-oriented lifestyle.

"In Vietnam, children with intellectual disabilities receive little support from organizations or the government," Le said. "I want to help enhance their lives."

Le, a human development major who is also earning a minor in music, said she is proud to bring Projects for Peace to Vietnam for the first time. "I think this is a chance to do something for my country."

Susan Taylor, a senior from Lyme, N.H., will head to Sangli, India, where she will partner with Shelter Associates, a non-governmental organization that addresses inadequate sanitation in slum communities, to create health and hygiene education workshops for the residents of the Sangli slums. Additionally, Taylor will work to raise awareness within Indian corporations about the work of Shelter Associates and the lack of adequate sanitation in Indian slums.

"I studied abroad in Northern India during my junior year, and ever since, I knew I wanted to go back," Taylor said. "I am incredibly excited to work directly with Shelter Associates and the people I have been learning about. I feel strongly that inadequate sanitation is one of the greatest problems afflicting India today, and one that can be helped through heightened awareness and education."

Taylor, a human development major with a minor in religious studies, says she hopes to pursue a career in public health and policy.

"My project will directly contribute to reaching this goal, as I will develop firsthand experience in the realm of urban sanitation," she said.

For more information about Davis Projects for Peace, visit

April 17, 2009