In January of 2015 a group of 10 Erasmus University College students will head out to Zimbabwe. Their aim: Teaching martial arts to girls, doing creative activities with orphans and conducting social research.


The project, which was initiated by EUC staff member Ginie Servant is financing itself through donations. So far, the students used their baking skills to raise around 1000 Euro. But their aim lies at 1700 Euro for the martial arts project alone.

All the money is supposed to go directly into the project, as students pay for the flight ticket and their food by themselves. Accomodation will be provided by the Peterhouse Girls school with which the group works together. Peterhouse Girls is a privately operated boarding school with admission fees, which seem staggering when compared to the countries average annual income. It is located in the town of Marondera not far from the countries capital Harare.

Students had to write an anonymous motivational letter on basis of which 10 of them were selected. The criteria included experience with organizing and martial arts as well a strong motivation for social work. The group will be accompanied by two EUC staff members on their trip to Africa.

Martial arts and research

The group will teach martial arts to girls in the schools Karate club, which is accessible to its students. The projects aims to focus on teaching self-defense, ultimately raising the girls self-esteem. This is supposed to help them in their patriarchichal environment to stand up for themselves. Ultimately, they shall be encouraged to pass on their experiences to other girls in the community, ensuring the projects endurance after the EUC students leave Zimbabwe.

Another part is the conduct of creative activitities in a local orphanage. These include dancing, painting, and writing with the kids. The group is still looking for donations of useful items, for examples canvasses and brushes.

Finally, field research will be conducted at the place. The results, covering questions like “Is the local schooling in line with UN standards?”, will be freely available to the local municipality after it is finished. For this work, the EUC students will join forces with students from the Peter House school, who are already engaged in local community work.

Personal Gain

The students aim to create social impact with the project. While the school is a private school with an admission fee the students nevertheless aim to carry on the project into the local community. Ideally, the girls would teach other girls martial arts and raise their self-esteem once they get involved in social life after their graduation.

While student Tirza de Jong sees the project purely as an opportunity to help out girls in Zimbabwe right now, fellow student Ronald Maduro is looking into his own future as well. For him the project is a stepping stone into a career within a NGO. He might get more opportunities to gather experiences soon, as the project already has a standing invitation from India for next year. ET

Read more on the blog of the project.