May 9, 2012
The Luther College community is supporting Empowering Learners in their philanthropic efforts to help the Lutheran schools in the northern part of Namibia, Africa.
Working with the Luther Book Shop and the college's Library and Information Services, the project has acquired calculators and laptops that will be delivered to Oshigambo Lutheran High School, a residential math and science high school near Ondangwa, Namibia, about 30 miles south of the Angolan border.
Luther Book Shop sold 40 and donated 10 TI-83 graphing calculators to the project. Empowering Learners purchased 20 used and refurbished laptops through LIS and also received five used laptops donated from campus community members. All outright purchases have been made possible through the generous gifts received from friends, family, churches and community members.
Project leaders Ethan Schultz, Luther senior, and Ann Sponberg Peterson, Luther director of development, will travel to Namibia this summer with a group of Luther faculty, staff, alumni and family members to personally deliver the equipment. This is a return trip to Oshigambo Lutheran High School for both Schultz, an elementary education and music major, and Peterson.
"Empowering Learners has become a significant part of my personal development as an educator and as a global citizen," says Schultz. "In January 2010 I got to see, first hand, how successful these Namibian learners have been with very limited resources, and I felt inspired to take some sort of action. My mom, Mary (Hamilton) Schultz '79, an elementary teacher in my hometown of Waseca, Minn., is also traveling with us on our trip and it means the world to me to be able to share this experience with her!"
The group will also get the opportunity to see the results of their 2011 campaign "Empowering Learners, Stocking the Shelves," which raised $24,000 and allowed them to ship a 40-foot sea container filled with more than 19,000 library books and textbooks, 40 computers, and three brand new sets of Encyclopedia Britannica to Oshigambo and Nkurenkuru Lutheran High Schools.
"I'm very pleased that this whole philanthropic effort has grown out of a 2010 January term study away course to Namibia and South Africa." says Peterson.
Empowering Learners is a philanthropic project benefitting the students, teachers and schools of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia. Founded in 2010 and volunteer-driven, the effort seeks to increase the instructional resources available to the ELCIN schools in the north of Namibia. An endowed fund has also been established through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Foundation to permanently support this project.
Follow the project's blog including project history, newsletters and photos online at: http://www.empoweringlearnersnamibia.blogspot.com.