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Sorensen Fellows: Updates from the Field

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Paul Sukijthamapan '13 interning with the Bairo Pite Clinic in East Timor.


The 2011 Fellows check in

June 1, 2011


The 2011 Sorensen Fellows are spending eight weeks “in the field” this summer, grappling with conflict resolution, death, disability, education, migration, and poverty. They return to Brandeis in the fall to process their experiences in the seminar “Internship in Peace, Conflict and Coexistence Studies.”

Calliope Desenberg '12, is working with the Centro de Estudios para la Paz (CEPPA – Center for Peace Studies), in San Jose, Costa Rica. After her first conflict resolution workshop, Calliope wrote, “I wanted the instigators to make up for all their actions, the victims to be paid for all damages done to them, and for everyone to dismantle the poisonous structures of machismo, patriarchy, and the overwhelmingly unfair distribution of resources that frame the entire situation. This, however, was impossible. No matter how angry it makes me, the best we can do is work with the torn, bloody fabric of reality. And while I can’t magically transform it into the beautiful tapestry that I cling to, I can try to patch it up and leave it at least a little better by the time I am done here.”

Jessye Kass '13, is working in Ghana, as one of the founders of Attukwei Art Foundation (AAF), which brings art projects to students who are living in underprivileged areas, or who have been victims of forced child labor and sex slavery. After doing an art project with kids about what they wanted to be when they were adults, Jessye wrote: "I knew that out of the 15 people who wanted to be doctors, maybe one would get to that level, but what was important was their smiling faces as they held up their beautifully colored drawings and told me that they would help people when they grew up. They would save lives."

Sarah Michael '12, is an intern at Children’s Association for Maximum Potential (CAMP), a summer camp in Texas for children and adults with special needs. Sarah wrote: “One of the CAMPers who has been coming to CAMP for over twenty years spoke about her dislike for people talking over her or like she wasn’t there. Can we see past a disability to see a person? or is that disability a large part of that person and must be accepted along with the person?”

Shani Rosenbaum ’12, is working with the Hotline for Migrant Workers in Tel Aviv, which promotes the rights of migrant workers and refugees and works to eliminate human trafficking in Israel. She wrote of her visit to the children’s detainment in Matan, which houses largely Eritrean and Sudanese teen boys: “The children can’t be deported because they’re considered asylum seekers, and can’t be released because they’re unaccompanied minors. There’s a sort of heavy cheeriness among the staff here; each wears a sighing smile that seems to be part of the uniform of people caring for kids in limbo.

Piyawat "Paul" Sukijthamapan '13, is an intern with the Bairo Pite Clinic (BPC) in East Timor, in South East Asia, which serves an average of 539 members of the resource-poor local community each day. On a tour of the clinic on the morning of his very first day, Paul was thrust right into the action: “Just as we were watching over Maria, the first patient, someone came in asking for help with a 16 year old pregnant teenager who had to be transported to the maternity ward. We were helping with the wheelchair down the stair and through the rough terrain when she lost consciousness and her head swung without direction. We took her out of the wheelchair and carried her the rest of the way, until she could be stabilized.

Sarah Van Buren '13, is an intern with Wildflower Home in Chiang Mai, Thailand: a shelter, clinic, and school for women who have been victims of sexual abuse and the sex trade. Sarah wrote: “The women at the Wildflower Home are largely from Hillside tribes, with limited rights and almost no access to formal education. The women are young, ranging from 12 to 25. But these women are strong, both together and alone.