Jesuit Commons Brings Seattle University Course to Malawi Refugees
Tags: higher education, Jesuit, Jesuit Commons, jesuits, refugees, Seattle University, Society of Jesus
Seattle University‘s Director of International Development Internships Program, Janet Quillian, recently developed a community health course for African refugees in Malawi through the Jesuit Commons, an initiative launched last fall to connect the expertise of faculty from Jesuit schools in the United States with students in refugee camps who want a college education.
The course she wrote is part of Higher Education at the Margins, the central component of the Jesuit Commons. Her course, “Community Health Providers,” aims to prepare students to take the lead in addressing the health needs of people living in the refugee camp.
Sixteen students took the course. They met for 15 weeks, and the coursework was delivered by an on-site facilitator, Jean Claude Bashibirira, who himself is a refugee, with a background in nursing and teaching.
This past year, participating faculty began offering courses through distance-learning at two camps: Kakuma in Kenya, where 84,000 refugees are living, and Dzaleka, the Malawi camp of 14,000 refugees where Quillian’s course was taught. Plans are also underway to establish the program for urban refugees in Aleppo, Syria. The idea is to empower refugees so they might lead in their communities and succeed, whether they remain in the camps or eventually leave.
So far, 18 faculty members and eight schools have participated in the delivery of coursework for the program. Another 40 faculty from 13 Jesuit institutions have been part of the admissions process, volunteering to read applications. [Seattle University]