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uni'alumni 2016

Amisi Bamavu studied medicine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – a country that has been ravaged by three wars in the past 20 years. Up until recently, the 1.3 million citizens of his home region of Maniema did not have any access to emergency medical services. Bamavu changed that: After completing his stud- ies with the help of a scholarship from the organization “Studieren ohne Gren- zen” (“Students without Borders” – SOG), he opened a hospital and established the region’s first 24-hour emergency room. “The people living there know best what they need,” says the biology student Sarah Nitsche, head of the Freiburg chapter of SOG. Whereas many devel- opment aid organizations promote basic school education, SOG focuses on higher education. She sees this as the key to self-determined economic and social development in devastated regions. SOG supports foreign students who are inter- ested in making a lasting contribution to rebuilding their war-torn native countries. The applicants for the scholarship pro- pose a project they would like to imple- ment in their country after completing their degree. Alumni Freiburg e.V. also finds the idea convincing and thus decid- ed to award the 2015 Alumni Prize for Social Involvement to the Freiburg chap- ter of SOG. Nitsche sees SOG as also being engaged in prevention work. The organ- ization wants to help make it attractive for the people to live in their countries rather than fleeing them. To support projects like Bamavu’s hospital, the students regularly hold donation cam- paigns, for instance in the form of benefit concerts or film screenings. One of their principles is ethical fundraising. This involves checking whether it is acceptable to receive donations from particular companies. “We don’t want to take money from companies who are in actual fact exploiting these countries and are donating just to absolve them- selves of responsibility,” says Nitsche. In addition, the organization tries to ensure that the people actually receive the donations. SOG also observes whether the projects remain effective after the funding expires. The students continue to provide non-material support after the end of the funding period. For example, they are helping Bamavu by establishing a crowdfunding platform to raise money for medical instruments – an exchange that many people stand to profit from. “The source of our motivation is the personal contact with the scholarship recipients. It’s an enriching experience,” says Magdalena Graf, who volunteers in the Freiburg chapter of SOG alongside her studies. The insight into the living and studying conditions of her fellow students also makes them more con- scious of their own situation. “I’ve learned what the students in these countries have to struggle with and how privileged we are here,” says Nitsche. Despite the differences in living conditions, the members of SOG all agree that the ex- change serves to build bridges between young adults across cultural borders. Yvonne Troll » ALUMNI PRIZE FOR SOCIAL INVOLVEMENT The booster association Alumni Freiburg e.V. has awarded the Alumni Prize for Social Involvement each year since 2012. The prize is worth 2000 euros and recog- nizes students who volunteer for social causes alongside their studies. Contact: Diana Sack Alumni Freiburg e.V. Phone: +49 (0)761 201-8814 E-Mail: Bank Account: Alumni Freiburg e.V. Sparkasse Freiburg-Nördlicher Breisgau IBAN: DE92680501010014001600 SWIFT/BIC: FRSPDE 66 The Key to Self-Determination The 2015 Alumni Prize for Social Involvement goes to a group that supports fellow students in areas affected by war or crisis ALUMNI PRIZE 2015 Magdalena Graf and Sarah Nitsche (from left) volunteer for “Studieren ohne Grenzen” – an organization that awards scholarships to foreign students in their native countries. Photo: Thomas Kunz 23 Alumni Network uni'alumni 2016 Phone: +49 (0)761201-8814