07.15.13 / Category: Impact - School Build Projects

Senegal or Bust-Final group of Trek Participants!

BO6idZ1CAAEBHzaBags are packed, journals are ready and there is little little left to discuss, this week we take our voices and put them in action. You met our first group here and our second group here. Below are the final five women who will represent the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation in Senegal this week. We’ll share as much as we can during the Trek on this blog and via twitter. Follow the hashtag #CofSbuildOn, but know our women will have no internet access during the trip. We’ll be sharing highlights, reflections, pictures and videos as soon as they return!

Nicole Hughes


Washington State University

Delta Delta Delta


Hughes is the second alumna member participating in the Trek.

The stories told in books like Half the Sky, A Thousand Sisters and the Road of Lost Innocence have affected me in indescribable ways. So many of the problems and challenges that are faced by women across the world are so complex and severe, it’s hard to imagine being part of a solution. I wanted to go on this Trek because education appears to be a big part to help empower women and girls. The Trek gives me an opportunity to contribute to opening up opportunities for others.

I’m excited to learn more about the daily life and the culture of the Senegalese people. I can’t wait to meet my host family and get to know the wonderful people who are making a commitment to providing education to girls and boys living in their township. I hope to gain a better perspective on what it means to provide, support and sustain educational opportunities in developing areas of the world. Most of my international travel opportunities have been work related – I’ve been to Peru, UK, Russia, Canada and Mexico.


Sparling Wilson


Vanderbilt University

Kappa Delta


It’s been my lifelong dream to travel to Africa, so when my school offered this opportunity, I jumped at the chance. I’m really excited to be immersed in a foreign culture and language; it’s such an opportunity to grow and push my personal limits to a new level. I’m also looking forward to living with a host family and meeting all of the women on this trip. I really love connecting with people and creating unique experiences such as this that will shape my character for the rest of my life.

I’m really hoping to learn on this trip- about myself, about the women on our team and about a foreign culture. By immersing myself in a foreign culture, I hope to increase my own levels of cultural competency and awareness that I can use in my writing and reporting to help bring about effective change in the world. I have been to Mexico, St. Maarten, the British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Australia and New Zealand.


Jasmine Rivera


Virginia Wesleyan College

Sigma Sigma Sigma



I wanted to go on The Trek because I think it’s going to be an amazing experience that I would never get again. It’s more than just a trip to Africa; this is going to be a trip that will be a learning experience and a way that I can help people I might never even meet. Being able to be a part of every step from going to SEPC and learning about Circle of Sisterhood and Half the Sky, then to come back and help fundraise and become an ambassador for the movement; to be able to end this experience building a school that has to be at least 50% girls is amazing. I wanted to go on this trip so I can see it come full circle and see on the little girls faces how much this means to them and to be able to show them how much helping them means to me.

I am really excited to just be in the village and getting to know the people and the culture as well as being able to break ground on a school. This is an experience I would never have been able to do if it wasn’t for supporters of the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation. I hope to gain knowledge and passion. I know information about Senegal and about what Circle of Sisterhood does but there is always more that you can learn from other people. I am also looking to gain an even bigger passion than I already have. I want this experience to be able to help me give other women at VWC a passion to. I have traveled outside the U.S before. When I was in high school I went on a mission trip to El Salvador for a week to bring school supplies and help them learn some English.


Elana Katz


University of Connecticut

Pi Beta Phi



Being a part of the Trek to Senegal will be a truly inspiring, life-changing and eye-opening experience. Through my leadership positions both in Pi Beta Phi and in UNITE, I have developed a passion for the availability of universal education for women. This experience, mixed with the amazing opportunity to work with women in other organizations has taught me the true value and scarcity of female education. Learning about the Circle of Sisterhood and reading the book to which this foundation was inspired, Half the Sky, has broadened my perspective about the treatment of and rights given to women around the world. One of the most powerful messages I have learned is that the education of women can lead to a powerful and positive push in the right direction for countries where women are traditionally oppressed. I cannot think of a more fulfilling experience than being able to help give the girls of this village the opportunity to experience something I used to take for granted; an education.

I am most excited to experience the Senegalese culture. I know that it will be vastly different than what I am accustomed to, and I look forward to learning how people from a different part of the world live. I hope to gain a greater understanding and respect for those who live with so much less than I do. I believe this is going to be a life-changing and perspective-altering experience and I look forward to soaking in all that I can from this journey. I have previously traveled to Australia, Mexico, France and Denmark.


Jordan Tojo


Ball State University

Kappa Delta


I have always loved service and have wanted to go out of the country for a long time. I’ve heard awesome things about serving in Africa and this was a great opportunity. I’m most excited about experiencing the culture in the area we are building. I love different cultures and lifestyles.

I hope to gain new friends, a new understanding and a deeper passion for the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation. I have been to Europe and Mexico, but both of these trips were pretty similar to our American lifestyle. I’m excited to see a completely different way of life.