As the Princeton women’s basketball team makes its way through Ivy League competition, they’ve done more than just post a 10-1 league record. They’ve also been raising money through their PVC Service Circle program, “Assists 4 Africa,” which will benefit the Mbour Orphanage, where they visited with their team in 2011. We recently sat down to speak with the project leaders, Nicole Hung ’14 and Jordyn Seni ’14, to talk with them about their efforts.
PVC: Your experience in Mbour obviously affected you strongly as a group. Can you describe what it was like?
Nicole Hung ’14: Our overseas trip as a whole was an incredible experience, but the Senegal leg of the trip was especially impacting. To be able to completely immerse ourselves into a culture that is so different from what we were used to and familiar with was eye-opening, to say the least. From visiting local fish markets to meeting the US ambassador of Senegal (who is in fact, a Princeton grad) to venturing on an African safari to see giraffes and rhinos, every minute of our trip was exciting, enlightening, and worthwhile. Still, our trip to the orphanage was undoubtedly the most unforgettable. Walking in to each room of the orphanage and seeing over thirty screaming babies rolling around in their cribs, covered with mosquito nets, was one of the most heartbreaking and harrowing things I’ve experienced—definitely not a very easy image to forget. Yet, seeing the pure and utter joy on the babies’ faces when one of us picked them up and played with them was almost enough to make me forget their plight and misfortune. For me, the trip to the orphanage offered time for introspection, to think about and appreciate all that we have that the kids in that room will most likely never be able to experience.
PVC: What prompted you to decide to give back to the orphanage?
NH: Last fall, I attended a sports panel-based event where speakers discussed how there’s a lot of value in using sports as a means of bridging diversity gaps between various countries. At the event, I heard about how the Princeton Varsity Club offers a community service grant each semester that allows the students to essentially plan everything on their own to raise funds for a charity of their choice, and I thought that the orphanage we visited in Senegal could benefit greatly from being on the receiving end of this kind of project. I talked over my idea with Jordyn Seni ‘14 and Lauren Polansky ‘13 and we started drafting a proposal for the grant and got the ball rolling for Assists 4 Africa.
PVC: Please describe your Service Circle event for us.
Jordyn Seni ’14: Our PVC Service Circle initiative, Assists 4 Africa, is a season-long project in which the women’s basketball team is trying to capitalize on the assists recorded in games to give them scope beyond the court. It comes naturally for this team to rack up assists in games, so creating this service initiative serves as a way for us to assist Vivre Ensemble Madeshael, the orphanage our team visited while in Mbour, Senegal in the summer of 2011. We encourage fans to engage in a service project that supports an organization so significant in our experiences during the team trip by making a one-time donation or pledging an amount of their choosing to correspond to our season assist total (last year, we had 398!). With the funds raised from donations, pledges per assist and t-shirt sales, we will work with Progress 4 Africa to coordinate the purchase of medicine, food and other necessary supplies so that we are able to address a variety of the orphanage’s most pressing needs.
PVC: What is your goal with this event?
NH: The ultimate end goal for Assists 4 Africa is to raise sufficient funds to coordinate the purchase of the most immediate needs of the orphanage Vivre Ensemble Madeshael. These goods will include mosquito nets to cover the babies’ cribs, food supplies (including milk), and malaria medicine. Our hope is to provide six months to a year’s worth of these goods for the orphanage.
You can support Jordyn and Nicole’s efforts by visiting their event website,www.crowdrise.org/assists4africa.