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ວັນຄົບຮອບ 60 ປີ ຂອງອົງການອາສາສະໝັກເພື່ອສັນຕິພາບ


It was 60 years ago when President John F. Kennedy signed an executive order putting in place the Peace Corps – an international volunteer organization to promote peace and friendship.

[[It was 60 years ago when President John F. Kennedy signed an executive order putting in place the Peace Corps – an international volunteer organization to promote peace and friendship. VOA Correspondent Mariama Diallo has more on the challenging and rewarding experiences of so many who have taken part over the years.]]

((NARRATOR)) ((G04308 Kennedy on Peace Corps from 1961))
The vision was born six decades ago. Former President John F. Kennedy outlined the program and prospects of young Americans going abroad to not only serve shoulder to shoulder with citizens of other countries but also learn from them.

((John F. Kennedy – Then-US President))
((G04308 Kennedy on Peace Corps from 1961)) ((1:42)) (( https://app.frame.io/projects/ae30dd8f-b6c4-418a-b02d-530603115a58/39a7620c-6b9c-4551-8a22-53dde8d9ef93 ))
“What is remarkable is that there’s no salary for the member of the Peace Corps. They will go abroad and live in the same standard with people of other countries. They will spend two to three years devoting part of their lives to peace and strengthening the ties that bind men together all over the globe.”

((NARRATOR))
It was an audacious idea at the time, some said, but fast forward 60 years, the idea has been realized says

((MANDATORY Cg: Peace Corps))

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum Director Alan Price.

((END COURTESY))

((MANDATORY Cg: Skype))
((Alan Price, Director, JFK Presidential Library and Museum))
“It’s been a fantastic idea. Thanks to the hard work of volunteers and the hard work of host countries. I think the goal as a long-term strategy to promote peace and friendship has been largely successful.”

((MANDATORY Cg: Peace Corps))
((NARRATOR)) ((general pictures and videos of PCV/ PeaceCorps.gov Website))
In the past 60 years, about 241,000 Peace Corps volunteers have served in more than 140 countries worldwide, says Peace Corps Acting Director Carol Spahn, who also noted a variety in the ages of participants.

((END COURTESY))

((MANDATORY Cg: Teams))
((Carol Spahn, Peace Corps Acting Director))
“Peace Corp volunteers’ ages range from 20 to 85. The bulk of them tend to be in their 20s, but when I was serving as country director in Malawi, we had one of the oldest serving volunteers at that time. She was 82 years old and just a pistol. She was terrific.”

((NARRATOR))
Spahn was 26 when she decided to serve in the Peace Corps in Romania. It was three years after the fall of communism. Some people were suspicious she says, but it was a life-changing experience for her.

((MANDATORY Cg: Teams))
((Carol Spahn, Peace Corps Acting Director))
“What happens with many volunteers is you go into the Peace Corps with a certain world view or some expectations of why things are the way they are. And as you live and work with people that are different from yourself, you start to ask questions and when you go in with curiosity, you learn what’s behind, why things happen differently than they do in your own country or why people hold certain values and what that history is.”

((MANDATORY Cg: Dwayne Matthews))
((NARRATOR)) ((stills of him in Malawi))
Dwayne Matthews is also a returnee who spent time in Malawi from 2013 to 2015. He now works for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and is pursuing a Ph.D. program at Washington’s Howard University. He’s from Little Rock, Arkansas, and had never traveled abroad before.

((MANDATORY Cg: Skype))
((Dwayne Matthews, ))
“When I got to Malawi, it was a complete culture shock // that first week or so was terrifying, but by the time I left the Peace Corps, I broke down in tears because I had to leave. It was the best choice I made in my young adult life up to that point.”

((MANDATORY Cg: YouTube/Dwayne Matthews/METHOD Documentary))
((NARRATOR))
While there, he served as a community health adviser who worked on many projects. One of his proudest is securing a nearly $7,000 grant to help build a youth center, a project the community also contributed to, he said.

((END COURTESY))

((Dwayne Matthews, Grants Management Analyst, U.S. Dept. Of Housing and Urban Development))
“The community actually donated 30% of what we needed so the community donated the land, they donated some of the labor, some of the bricks and quarry stones. We actually had money remaining because of the community contribution, which is how we knew this project was gonna be sustainable because the community wanted it.”

((MANDATORY Cg: Christopher Destiche))
((NARRATOR)) ((stills of Chris in Guatemala))
Chris Destiche served in Guatemala from 2018-2020. He’s now a regional recruiter for the Peace Corps.

((END COURTESY))

((MANDATORY Cg: Christopher Destiche OVER STILLS))
((MANDATORY Cg: Teams))
((Christopher Destiche, Peace Corps Regional Recruiter))
“I lived in a small Mayan community. There’s about 2,000 people in the community that I was in and I lived with a three-generation indigenous Mayan family, which was really awesome. Very chaotic but very loving.”

((MANDATORY Cg: Christopher Destiche))
((NARRATOR)) ((stills of him in Guatemala))
While there he says he partnered with the Guatemalan Ministry of Agriculture to implement their rural extension program.

((END COURTESY))

((MANDATORY Cg: Christopher Destiche OVER STILLS))
((MANDATORY Cg: Teams))
((Christopher Destiche, ))
“Basically, I was working with them to give training to increase capacity of rural Mayan farmers. The objective was to increase their capacity to grow food and thereby decrease food insecurity, malnutrition and hunger.”

((MANDATORY Cg: Dwayne Matthews, Chris Destiche))

((NARRATOR)) ((stills of both in Malawi & Guatemala))
Both Matthews and Destiche say they’ve learned life lessons and skills they wouldn’t have had they not served in the Peace Corps.

((MARIAMA DIALLO, VOANEWS, WASHINGTON))

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