Spin your globe to the continent of Africa, and look toward the eastern coast. Halfway down the continent is the country of Tanzania and in the center of that country is the community of Ilula.
Remote as that might seem, a strong connection exists between Vermont and Ilula in the form a service-learning project between Saint Michael’s College and a program that supports orphans in Ilula. The relationship between Saint Mike’s and the Ilula Orphan Program was forged by political science professor Trish Siplon during one of her many trips to Tanzania.
The girls in the orphanage range from 7 to 17 years old. This month visitors from the orphan program are in Vermont to share the stories of these children.
Trish Siplon is a political science professor at Saint Michael’s College, and Edson Msigwa heads the Ilula Orphan Center in Tanzania. They spoke with VPR’s Jane Lindholm about the program.
Photo: Liz Koelnych