During a trip to her homeland of Guyana last summer, Trishala Jailall ’16 visited the Alpha Children’s Home. What she saw jolted her.
“I was both heartbroken and appalled,” Jailall said of the conditions at the orphanage, a safe haven for nearly 30 abandoned youngsters from surrounding destitute villages.
“I had never seen anything like that. I really wanted to help.”
A biology major who came to the U.S. when she was three, eventually settling in Schenectady, Jailall will get an opportunity to help this summer.
Jailall is the latest Union student to win a Kathryn Wasserman Davis Projects for Peace award. The $10,000 prize will support her project, "Clean Living.” In its seventh year, the Davis Projects for Peace is an invitation to undergraduates to design grassroots projects that they will implement during the summer. The objective is to encourage and support today's motivated youth to create and try out their ideas for building peace.
Jailall learned of the Davis opportunity through Neha Pirwani ’14, who won a grant in 2012 to help support a community center in Ghana.
She will use the grant money to renovate the orphanage’s water filtration system to provide clean, safe drinking and washing water for the children. She will also introduce a sanitation/hygienic workshop to promote good health and hygiene habits.
“It’s important for youngsters to grow up in a sanitary environment and develop good living habits because better health and wellness will lead to development and growth in the villages,” said Jailall, who hopes to pursue a career in medicine.
She credits her first two years at Union with helping prepare her to make a difference in the world.
“My experiences at Union have been nothing short of discovery - both on a personal level and on an academic level,” she said. “I have learned so much during my time here. The support and encouragement I have received from faculty and peers have been overwhelmingly generous.
“I am truly honored to have been awarded the Davis Grant. Poverty, in my opinion, is the greatest ill in the world.”
To learn more about this year’s winning Davis projects, click here.