A unique program that is only found at St John’s University in New York, America, it is a service based program that is constituted of multiple cohorts (teams of people that are grouped together through their year of education at the college), that are tasked with looking at some of the issues that affect a large population of the poor and vulnerable, reflecting upon the best means to assist them and address the root cause of such social injustices, and then at the end of the four year college journey, present a proposal that can effectively and efficiently set in motion changes in society and public policies that will aid those who find themselves discriminated against because of their positions within the community.
Each year, the program strives to educate and immerse its students in the areas that are afflicted the most by setting aside time in the students’ academic schedule and dedicating that time towards weekly service. Some of the service sites that are offered are Positive Living Dinner, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a soup kitchen and middle school respectively, where different sorts of characters are engaged, backstories unfold, and a genuine bond between the student and the community is formed. Throughout the students four year stay within the program, there will also be day and overnight trips such as the trips to Germantown, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C, where they are presented the chance to delegate and advocate over the issues they see plaguing our society.
Upon my entry into the St John’s University, I became the first Zimbabwean student to be accepted into the Ozanam Scholar’s program, and I feel like this is particularly important as I’m given the chance to talk and share some of the problems that afflict our country with people that are in offices or seats that have the ability to bring about a change. I can only hope that with time, and before I graduate, more Zimbabweans apply and are accepted into the program so that we learn about advocacy, how to do, where to do it and who to do it to, so that we can bring about the change, that previous generations have long since sought, but failed to achieve.