My engagement with development

PROMPT #1: Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.


The literacy rate in sub-Saharan Africa hovers around 70%. The ratio of those living below the poverty line averages out to roughly the same number. Privileged as we are, and consciously or not, we readily dismiss these numbers as simple statistics. These things don’t assume a human face until we see it first-hand. The people behind the numbers are invisible until you can see the weariness of a father struggling to feed his children, the desperate prayers of a mother as she rocks her feverish child and the haunting stare of a man resigned to his fate.

Wealth penetrates my surroundings; luxury surrounds me; the excess threatens to consume me and yet, the tragedy has never been starker. My father came from nothing, struggling to make ends meet as he shared his studio apartment with 8 others. From him, I learned the importance of helping those who aren't lucky enough to be able to help themselves. My education has been conditioned by mandatory community service, and while I believed whole-heartedly in the spirit of what I was doing, it was still with the ignoble reluctance that comes with obligation.

My story is one of 3 summers. In the first, I had committed to climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for the ‘Seeing is...

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