Brittany Atchison and Xinrui Zeng were Cornell’s first recipients of the International Humanitarian Fellowship, a fully funded month-long service opportunity with the International Volunteer Headquarters. Out of 15 global placement sites, Atchison and Zeng both traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, and worked with Fadhili Community, a local non-profit organization (Atchison in May 2009; Zeng in June 2009). Atchison taught and assisted at an orphanage, while Zeng worked concurrently at an orphanage and a maternity and child health clinic. Both also spent time in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps, where Atchison conducted interviews and Zeng distributed emergency food and supplies.
Kenya has been plagued by ethnic violence since before independence from Britain in 1963, and, to date, gross human rights violations have caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and the displacement of over one million people. Most recently, the redundant violence following the 2007 presidential election led to over 1,000 deaths and the displacement of 300,000 to 600,000 people. The causes are varied; however, historic land disputes have played a central role in the persistence of ethnic conflict. At present, the Kenyan government has failed to provide support and services to IDPs, thus there is an urgent need for international collaboration to provide additional food, water, shelter, and medical services.
This poster is a snapshot into the individual journeys of Atchison and Zeng, and ultimately seeks to capture the splendor, anguish, and hope of Kenya.
Brittany Atchison, ’10 Northfield, MN
Majors: Politics, Ethnic Studies
Xinrui Zeng, ’12 Yunnan Province, China
Majors: Psychology, Economics and Business
Sponsor: David Yamanishi