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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

South professor gives aid to Swaziland

Orphaned+Mbabane+students+received+shoes+from+South+Campus+assistant+psychology+professor+Staussa+Ervin.+She+and+her+group+also+helped+to+provide+books+to+local+libraries+and+schools.+%0D%0APhoto+courtesy+Staussa+Ervin
Orphaned Mbabane students received shoes from South Campus assistant psychology professor Staussa Ervin. She and her group also helped to provide books to local libraries and schools. Photo courtesy Staussa Ervin

By Tristian Evans/south news editor

Orphaned Mbabane students received shoes from South Campus assistant psychology professor Staussa Ervin. She and her group also helped to provide books to local libraries and schools.
Photo courtesy Staussa Ervin

Last year, South Campus psychology assistant professor Dr. Staussa Ervin spent a year on faculty development leave and worked for the Fort Worth Sister Cities organization, which promotes making international connections between people of different cultures.

Ervin worked on international project management, specifically on an exchange to Mbabane, Swaziland, in southern Africa.

Ervin described it as similar to the U.S.: mountainous, full of beautiful scenery and warm, inviting people,

She and her fellow delegates stayed in the homes of Swazi families, allowing them to eat traditional Swazi food and listen to their music.

Ervin said sharing daily life with local families gave them the opportunity to get immersed in the Swazi culture.

She also learned that Mbabane children need help.

Mbabane has the largest HIV/AIDS rate in the world, which leaves many of the children there without a mother or father.

Despite that, education remains a top priority for the children there.

But to attend school, the children must have shoes.

“A lot of these orphans live in poverty,” Ervin said. “If they can’t afford shoes, they can’t go to school.”

Thanks to a donation from the Fort Worth Rotary Club to the First Steps Project, Ervin and her group of delegates purchased shoes in Mbabane to hand out to the school-age children.

While there, the group also distributed books to the libraries and orphanages with the help of Change for Change, an annual project that donated books to the orphanages and children’s libraries in Mbabane.

South Campus alone donated more than $1,000 to the project last year, Ervin said.

While there, she and her group also visited the University of Swaziland, where they talked to some students.

Ervin said the students were interested in the community college system since it doesn’t exist there.

“They think it’s innovative, and it really is,” she said.

One of the things she found surprising was the college students’ favorite type of American music.

“They love soul music,” she said, “Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross.”

This summer, Ervin and 18 other delegates will return to Swaziland to donate more shoes and books to the Mbabane children.

Ervin said she hopes to continue to create understanding of other cultures and feels good knowing she has built an ongoing relationship with the people in Swaziland.

“That’s really what the point is,” she said. “Continuing to build understanding and collaboration and exchanges of ideas.”

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