Alumnus journeys to African orphanage

June 5, 2008 — by Sophia Cooper and Annie Lee

For many students, attending a four-year college is the epitome of education. For alumnus Michael Nguyen, however, it just wasn’t enough. Nguyen, currently a freshman at UC San Diego, has decided to take on a greater project during his high school career in order to benefit orphans in Tanzania.

Nguyen will venture to a Tanzanian orphanage this September with fellow class of 2007 alumna Sue Cho, who is currently attending UC Los Angeles. The pair will be in Tanzania for 10 weeks, missing the first quarter of their college courses. Nguyen and Cho will be volunteering for an organization called One Heart Source, a community service organization dedicated to helping orphans in Tanzania.

“A lot of people travel to Africa, and when the opportunity came up I just went with it,” said Nguyen.

One Heart Source owns 10 acres of land in a village in Arusha, Tanzania. According to oneheartsource.org, the village is referred to as “the heart of the land of the Maasai people.” Volunteers can mentor orphans, work on the land, or teach HIV/AIDS education and English. Nguyen and Cho chose to be mentors for the village orphans.

“I’ve always had a soft spot for Africa,” said Nguyen, “and I really like to work with kids.”

Cho first learned about One Heart Source when recruits put flyers under her dorm door. She later went to some meetings, completely student run, and decided to become involved.

“It really got me because it was all run by students,” said Cho. “How they proceeded with such generosity encouraged me to get involved.”

Nguyen and Cho will not receive school credit but will gain a lifetime a memories they wish to share with their peers. Donations would be much appreciated in order to help finance their once-in-a-lifetime Third-World adventure.

“[My favorite part will be] just to make a difference in one child’s life,” said Nguyen. “I want to go there and do some good and come back with new experiences.”

For more information, contact Michael Nguyen at (408) 621-1259 or Sue Cho at.(408) 313-2931.

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