Deborah Brown | Nigeria
What do you do in your home country and what do you hope to do upon your return? In particular, with the integration of your experiences here?
I currently work on inclusive education projects for marginalized adults and girls as well as children with special needs.
I hope to use utilize the information that I have gathered and the partnerships that I have built through Drexel to bring new services, especially with my projects with children with disabilities. I am looking forward to reaching out to the fellows that I am meeting who work in that area to help that community back in Nigeria. Based on my experiences here, even with seeing how the Amish people live, I am going to see my work with less bias, with a new point of view on inclusivity. Especially with my work with marginalized girls, I will appreciate their choices for life and what they value culturally in my attempts to help them. In addition to helping them through my education, this experience has helped me see what else I can do to support them in the work that I do.
Another thing that I learned, through someone I met who works with Special Olympics, I learned about their sustainability model which I could adopt and use back home with my arts and education project. Having volunteer teachers carrying out their work, I want to get a volunteer teacher at each of the schools I work with to have them integrate the arts in the education of the students.
What is your favorite thing about your home country? How about Philadelphia?
The favorite thing about my home country is the resilience. Nigerians have gone through a lot with the economy, the politics, with the different crises such as the crises happening now in the Northern communities. However, you still find people in those communities who are so strong and willing to take on opportunities despite the crisis. The support system for trauma is not so good, but the communities are so strong and people are there for each other.
I have not explored Philly so much, I think I still have a lot to learn. I like the weather, I like the food. People here are so welcoming. I have gotten lost a few times and people are always willing to show us the way even without knowing us. This reminds me a bit of Nigeria, different types of people from different types of lives, which is beautiful.
Do you have any hobbies or an interesting fact you wish to share about yourself?
I like to dance salsa. I also like to craft - I love to work with my hands so I work with fabrics.
If I were to come to your home country, what is the first thing I should eat?
I would recommend a greasy soup and fufu.