I participated in a two-week volunteer program at Eben-Ezer University of Minembwe (DRC) in July 2015 where I taught English classes at advanced and beginner levels for the community and led out in women’s rights/global health workshops. On a personal note, I gained a new perspective here on what is possible in low-resource settings: the community seemed tightly involved with the university and I can’t impress enough the pride they took in its growth and achievement. I also was deeply moved by their active role in advancing education and community health, even taking on projects to restore native ecology, to a region wounded by past conflict. In summary, I see Eben-Ezer University as being a potential “grassroots model” of a dynamic relationship between a university and its surrounding rural community, and believe investment in its future will be crucial for development of this region.
Currently I’m a third-year American medical student at the Medical School for International Health/Columbia University (MSIH), NYMSIH), and in the future I aspire to return to Minembwe to assist in any way possible to their continued success.
M. Justin Hylarides, MSc
MD Candidate 2019