Two Notre Dame of Maryland University students are among those who have been chosen to design and undertake Projects for Peace. Lorelie Elaine Soriano and Micah Castelo submitted one of the 120 winning projects that are being awarded $10,000 each for implementation this summer.
Castelo and Soriano’s project centered around the construction of the first official library of the Caibiran Central School in the city of Caibiran located in the eastern Visayas region of the Philippines. The area was nearly destroyed during Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 and continues to recover from the effects of the storm.
“From the start,” Castelo says “we knew that we wanted to work on a project in the Philippines because we are both Filipina.” Castelo didn’t have to reach very far to find motivation. “When I was still in the Philippines, my parents enrolled me in a private school because the public schools did not have enough resources to ensure each child succeeds. I see this award as a privilege that I have been granted. I want to use this privilege to help those children in need ... They deserve this just as much as anyone else.”
Soriano says winning this award gives her the opportunity to give back to her home, “As intellectuals and as immigrants, we are the lucky ones and this award gives the perfect opportunity to help those who are not as lucky. This project definitely emphasizes a key part of being Filipino: wherever we are in the world, we are all one family.”
NDMU is one of seven women’s colleges with students selected to design Projects for Peace. Among the others—Barnard College, Smith College, and Wellesley College.
Since its inception in 2007, 25 NDMU students have had their proposals for projects selected. This is the ninth straight year that NDMU students have been awarded Projects for Peace. Previous projects have taken place in Peru, Bolivia, Kenya, and Tanzania.