Sara Toombs

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Thiel College

Heinz Programming Area:
Children, Youth, and Families
International Experience Summary:

Sara Toombs spent four weeks in Meknes, Morocco volunteering in several organizations through the Experiential Learning Abroad Program, a partner of International Studies Abroad. Sara primarily worked alongside the staff at Initiative pour la Promotion des Droits de Femmes, an associate that provides counseling and legal consultation to women experiencing various forms of marital injustice. She was able to observe client consultations, assist with daily administrative tasks, and facilitate a cooking class for local women to come share recipes and stories. Sara also spent time at Le Nid, an infant and toddler orphanage facility located at the Meknes hospital. There, she cared for infants by feeding, bathing, and providing comfort. She also led art and basic English classes for older children and intellectually disabled adults. Finally, Sara worked at a women's co-op teaching English classes. In exchange, she was able to take a French class at the center and improve her communication skills. During Sara's time with the association, they hosted an international photography exhibit called "Too Young to Wed," which brings visibly to light the realities of child marriage and pregnancy. In Morocco, Sara developed many relationships with local Moroccans. She had the opportunity to attend a family dinner at the home of her close friend Amina, where she learned to make traditional cous-cous and paint henna tattoos. She most enjoyed her time spent sipping mint tea or avocado juice in the café, conversing with friends about cultural traditions, religious practices and developing gender equality.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Girl Rising: One Girl with Courage is a Revolution

Members of the 2014 cohort Sara Toombs and Allison Gloor hosted the CEE “Girl Rising: One Girl with Courage is a Revolution” on November 20, 2014 at Thiel College. The event incorporated a screening of the film Girl Rising and an audience discussion. Girl Rising is a documentary-style film that introduces the stories of nine girls living in the developing world who overcome the odds in pursuit of an education. The purpose of this CEE was to educate the audience on the necessity for equal opportunity education across gender, status, and borders. Segments of the film were shown, followed by periods of discussion which Sara and Allison facilitated. Some of the main topics discussed were global poverty, human trafficking, child marriage, and how a lack of education contributes to these issues. Key community members were also involved in the discussion, including campus professors, a representative from a domestic violence agency, and the housing director of a local shelter for victims of human trafficking. During the CEE, audience members were able to see the adversity that girls without education face, as well as reflect upon the value of equal education for the global community. “Girl Rising” shared the message that every girl deserves a chance to pursue an education – and her dreams. When a girl achieves her dreams, the whole world benefits.