A Class Project, a Life-Long Mission
nursing class project leads to Swaziland
Students in Walla Walla College’s Introduction to Nursing class started a class project, not knowing it would quickly become a lasting mission.
The project began when Phetsile Dlamini, an African physician, spoke to the class early in the quarter. Dlamini was recently honored by the Association of Adventist Women for her work to better the lives of vulnerable children in Swaziland, her home country.
From Dlamini’s lecture, the class learned that the Kingdom of Swaziland, one of the smallest countries on the African continent, has the world’s lowest life expectancy due to a high rate of HIV infection.
Professors Trudy Klein and Sallieann Brewer say their students were so moved by the presentation that they started coming to them with ideas of how to help the people of Swaziland. “Professor Brewer suggested that we change the final project to reflect the student’s interest in the needs of Swaziland,” says Klein.
The class split into three groups, each focusing on a different need.
Group I, focusing on the spiritual growth of the Swaziland people, decided to send the book Steps to Christ to as many people as possible. The group also collected donated books and pamphlets. Because books are so rare in Swaziland, it is likely that these books will be read and treasured by generations
In addition, the students wanted to pray for the people there and met for that purpose at least twice a week throughout the quarter. Although the quarter is ending, the prayers will continue. Each member of the group has committed to continue praying for the people of Swaziland.
The students say they want to help the people develop a relationship with Christ, perhaps leading to better life choices.
“We’ll never see them or hear their stories. And even though praying weekly and sending a few books seems small, it’s really a huge thing. The people can pass the books along and they will provide hope—and maybe change lives,” says group member Leah Davy, a sophomore nursing major.
Emphasizing the financial needs, Group II decided to work with the organization World Vision. Each group member agreed to raise $100 throughout the quarter and donate the money to something that would have long-term effects for Swaziland children.
The 11 students contacted family and friends, churches, businesses, and WWC faculty, staff, and students. They also participated in bake sales and other fundraising events. Although not every student reached his or her goal, all of the students say they plan to continue their fundraising efforts all year.
Group Three turned its efforts toward addressing emotional needs, especially of the children. After corresponding with Dlamini, the group discovered that the greatest emotional need was simply support.
“We wanted to let them know that they are not alone and not forgotten,” the group explained. To accomplish that goal, they sent boxes of encouraging notes gathered from WWC students and community members. They also collected pictures colored by students in local nursery schools.
Although one box is already on its way to Africa, the students are nearly ready to send another, and are collecting items for still more boxes. They’re hoping to send additional notes, books, crayons, toothbrushes, and toys for the children.
“I am particularly impressed that the students took hold of this project so strongly. They made it a life-changing experience, rather than just an assignment to be completed by the end of the quarter,” says Klein.
The students are excited about the projects, and hopeful for the future. “We hope this 'small effort' will continue to grow and bless the people of Swaziland,” group after group explained.
If you would like to contribute to these student’s efforts, please contact Trudy Klein at kleitr(AT)wwc.edu or (509) 527-2462.