Penn State Altoona Enactus Empowering the Less Fortunate Around the World
By Leila Farzam
Class of 2015
Major: Business/Marketing and Management
Minor/Concentration: Entrepreneurship and Political Science
Since 2011, Penn State Altoona Enactus students have partnered with low-income children at the Star School in Kigali, Rwanda, on projects that focus on their daily needs. These students suffer from a limited diet and absorb few calories on a daily basis.
As a result of our collaborations, Penn State Altoona Enactus has helped improve the quality of life and standard of living for these students by empowering the Star School to not only build a chicken coop, raise chickens, and harvest eggs as a sustainable food source, but also to create a revenue stream.
This project has many benefits. Students at the Star School are learning how to care for and maintain the coop, the school is generating income from the eggs produced, and most importantly, the school is reducing food costs. Ultimately, this project will generate the capital needed to build a government-mandated fence (estimated cost of $65,000) around the Star School property.
In the summer of 2012, Penn State Altoona Enactus students helped to build two greenhouses at the Star School that will provide sources of food and income. A drip line irrigation system was installed in 2013 to enhance the efficiency of the greenhouses. Water usage has since declined 30 percent. To foster greater productivity, Penn State Altoona Enactus helped the Star School transition to artificial fertilizer and plant a new variety of tomato seedlings that offers yields nine months per year.
This year, our organization participated in a nationwide Enactus project designed to combat hunger. Enactus teams organized and conducted food drives while attempting to empower those in need to defeat the cycle of hunger. The goal of our Penn State Altoona project was to collect more than the five thousand cans mandated by a grant we received from the Campbell Soup Company. I am proud to note that we collected 5,403 cans, which we donated to St. Vincent DePaul Assumption Chapel Food Pantry in Altoona.
It is rewarding to be part of a student organization at Penn State Altoona that is changing the world, locally and globally! My three-year involvement with Enactus has truly changed my life and is a part of what shaped me into the person I am today.