Sunday 11 November 2018

ESSEC Association Guide: Delta ESSEC

When I exchange, almost every single day, with students interested in the Master in Management program at ESSEC I often answer to questions related to career prospects, academics or double degree programs. However, almost everyone asks: “How is the student life at ESSEC?”.

I love to answer to this question, mainly because for me student life at ESSEC was something totally new compared to my previous university. When I arrived at ESSEC, I started to wonder how incredible is that students are so involved in initiatives that are not necessarily linked with their professional career or with their academic path. Associations at ESSEC are a big part of the whole experience and they are a great way to learn, to meet new people and, of course, to have fun. There are many associations both in ESSEC Paris and in ESSEC Singapore.

Associations at ESSEC can be divided in 5 big groups: Humanitarian Associations, Professional Associations, Sport Associations, Cultural Associations and Free-time Associations. Globally, there are more than 100 associations at ESSEC and I guess it will be a real challenge to talk of all of them in just an article. This is why, in the next months, I will write specific articles on the best associations of those 5 groups.

But I want to start with my very experience at Delta ESSEC. Delta ESSEC is a humanitarian association that collaborate with a South African NGO, called Swa Vana (“For the children”), to promote access to education and basic care for the children of a rural community in South Africa. Swa Vana is a multi-purpose centre in Huntington, 500km East of Johannesburg, where children come after school to play, eat something and learn.

Delta 2018 members with the NGO's permanent volunteers
The association action plan is very simple and it consists of 9 months of fundraising in France, mainly thanks to corporate partnerships & crowdfunding, followed by a 5 weeks mission in South Africa.

But what was the action plan for the 2018 mission?

First of all, we funded 2 scholarships to the 2 bests students in the Swa Vana centre to allow them to access tertiary education. Unfortunately, in the rural area where we worked, called Mpumalanga, access to quality education is extremely difficult and students tend to withdraw from school when they are still very young. 

This is why we also worked for 5 weeks in the village high school and primary school, teaching Mathematics and English in buildings that were mere containers with more than 40 children for class. Here we understood the unique challenges that the government and local NGOs have to face to guarantee a better future to the local population.

Teaching in an high school class inside a container
But we also spent our time visiting and helping local families in their daily tasks. This, in particular, was an incredible way to understand the struggle of living in such a poor village, a place where mothers, sometimes alone and abandoned, often confess you they believe there is no future for their own children. Such a sense of hopelessness really motivated us to do more and more, and this is why we worked on the improvement of the Swa Vana centre to help them meet the government requirements needed to receive public funding. This was extremely important to guarantee the future economic sustainability of the NGO.

A child playing with the threads used by his grandmother to make a living 
Finally, we partnered with a local entrepreneur to build a dormitory part of a learning centre for children with handicaps. The families of those children cannot afford the cost of sending them to special schools. For this reason the children have no opportunity to learn and they are marginalized by society. By building this facility, we granted access to basic education to 14 children with disabilities. Of course, building a 100 square meters structure in just 4 weeks was definitely a crazy project... but luckily, we were able to make it thanks to the collaboration of local workers and building experts!

The building site
Even if we made the most of our 5 weeks, a lot has still to be done! This is why Delta is already working on the general fundraising plan for the 2019 mission. The improvement of the Swa Vana library with digital resources, for example, is a real priority to guarantee better education to the local community. In addition to this, we are working on a project that involves the creation of a little task force to clean the village from all the trash and plastic that heavily pollutes the environment. 

(Are you a member of an associations at ESSEC? Would you like to help future students to find their perfect association? Contact us on the Facebook Master in Management Page!)

Written by A. Carletta, Student Ambassador for the MiM program

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