So, what is the Peace Corps?
The United States Peace Corps was founded in 1961 by John F. Kennedy as an international volunteer program that has sent over 220,000 Americans overseas to work in areas of social and economic development.
In its founding charter, the purpose of the program was officially declared to be:
“To promote world peace and friendship through a Peace Corps, which shall make available to interested countries and areas men and women of the United States qualified for service abroad and willing to serve, under conditions of hardship if necessary, to help the peoples of such countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained manpower.”
The Peace Corps has further set out its mission as promoting world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals
- To help the people of interested countries in meeting their needs for trained Volunteers
- To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
- To help promote a better understanding of peoples on the part of Americans.
Currently, Peace Corps Volunteers are serving in the following sectors in more than 60 countries in all parts of the world: Education, Community Economic Development, Health, Youth in Development, Agriculture, and Environment. Most volunteers serve for a term of two years, plus three months of training.
The Peace Corps in Rwanda
Since the program’s inception in 1975, more than 600 Volunteers have served in Rwanda. Despite closing from 1993-2008, the program has rebounded successfully and there are currently about 140 Volunteers serving in the areas of Education and Health.
My cohort will be working in Education as Secondary Education English Teachers through the Peace Corps’ new TEFL program. Most of us will be assigned to work with secondary schools across the country, with a few of us instead working with primary students.
For more information on the Peace Corps, the requirements for service, and how to apply, visit: https://www.peacecorps.gov/