Returning to Suriname as Davis winner


By Greg Brenn

This past week, Oema Ramgharose ‘15 was awarded the Kathryn Wasserman Davis Peace Project award.

Ramgharose is Union’s third recipient of the award in as many years.

Ramgharose will receive $10,000 to support her project, “Building a Stronger Community under One Roof.” She plans to return to her home village of Groot-Henar Polder in Suriname to give back to her childhood school.

Before her family moved to the United States in 2005, Ramgharose attended the only school in Groot-Henar Polder, a small village with a population of 400.

However, this school did not contain the amenities that many elementary- to middle school- aged students in the U.S. have the opportunity to experience, such as a recreation center.

In the last decade or so, this school has built a library, brought in more books and hired more teachers among other improvements, but this 16-classroom school does not have an area for the students to recreate and relax from their studies and the sun.

Ramgharose explained that she always wanted to give back to the community.

“When I learned about the Davis Projects for Peace, I was determined to do something. I am always trying to figure out what to do to give back to the world, but money is always an issue, so I am extremely happy and grateful that I have this option because of the Davis Family,” she said.

With this Davis Project for Peace, Ramgharose hopes to plan and oversee the construction of a recreation center, designed for students to have a place to have lunch, an area for students to have respite from the tropical sun during recess, as well as a meeting room for the community.

“I am also planning on creating clubs and organizations that will hopefully inspire the school kids to take charge of their lives,” Ramgharose explains.

Ramgharose stated that her elementary school motivated her desire to learn, even with few resources to work with, which is why she wants to give back to her home community.

“I decided to work with the school because my elementary school teachers are partly the reason for why I’m still in school. They are the ones who instilled the importance of education in me,” she explained.

The Davis Projects for Peace funds 100 grassroots projects $10,000 for undergraduate students to design projects that promote peace, implemented during the summer months.

Previous Union Davis Peace Projects have included building a learning center in Ghana in 2012, and in 2011 the College’s Engineers without Borders brought clean water to a village in Ethiopia.



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