We are an interdisciplinary student group that pursues service learning activities. Our organization focuses on identifying and executing sustainable development solutions - locally in Michigan and internationally in Guatemala.
Our mission is to develop community health in a sustainable manner. We seek to build a network of collaborators to ensure the effectiveness of our projects and to promote the community's ownership of development solutions. Through student-driven service, we aim to develop our members' cultural awareness, professional skills, and ethics.
The domestic sector formed a collaboration with Vista Maria's Dreams Realized through Education And Mentoring (DREAM) Program in 2010. DREAM offers individual mentoring for at-risk high school aged youth who attend Vista Maria (Dearborn, Michigan) or nearby schools. The program has a special focus on graduation and post-graduation options. During the summer of 2011, Sa Nima developed and tested several modules focused on community assessment and grant-writing, financial awareness, and college decision-making with foster youth living at Vista Maria. We then continued with these specific modules, while also adding in modules such as post-secondary options and interview techniques. Sa Nimá members have the option to go to DREAM once every two weeks to take part in holding these rewarding modules.
In Ann Arbor, we actively seek out communication and sharing of ideas with other similar-minded organizations - our goal is to collaborate and learn as much as possible from our peers. As a result of our organization's mindset to collaborate, we will be holding the second annual Good Development Conference on March 16, 2013, in collaboration with two other student organizations. During this conference we will have general members of UM, student org members, and faculty thinking critically about how development work can be integrated sustainably, and ultimately benefit the communities we work with. The Good Development Conference is an all-day event that brings together students from different organizations, backgrounds, and academic fields to discuss a topic that is of relevance to all - development.
Throughout the Fall and Winter semesters Sa Nimá plans for its trips to Guatemala by forming project teams. For the 2012-2013 year our organization has three project teams.
The first project implements solar technology in Samox San Lucas. Currently, after dusk there is no electricity within the community. We plan to prototype and introduce solar technology near the elementary school, so that students can continue to make use of the school yard and facilities in the evening. The solar lights will be made using locally available materials. We will create solar lights to leave in "hotspots" in the community during our Spring Break trip. When Sa Nimá members return in May, we will evaluate to see if the solar lights benefited the community, and if this project something we could continue to develop for the 2013-2014 year.
We will continue with our elementary education camp, where we will teach students English lessons for the first time. We plan to use booklets with graphics to assist in translating basic phrases and words from the Mayan Q'eqchi' language to Spanish, and then to English. Also, we will continue our cultural and engineering activities involving problem solving, geography, and foreign cultures as we did during our summer 2012 trip. These activites will take place after school gets out. We anticipate about 100 student participanting in the camp.
Our third project is the construction of a hand washing station in the elementary school yard, helping the school get one step closer to becoming healthy school certified by the Guatemala government. The lavamanos (hand washing station) has been requested for students to use before snack time and after the students play in the yard. To complement the construction of the lavamanos, Sa Nimá plans to put on health modules about hand washing and dental hygiene. We will use black lights and glo-germ donated by UM departments to demonstrate the presence of bacteria, and the necessity to properly clean and maintain one's hygiene.
Sa Nimá plans to go on two trips in 2013. Several undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of the University of Michigan's departments will travel to Samox San Lucas, Guatemala in the months of March and May to carry out our three international projects.
August 2012: During the after school camps, Sa Nimá organized fun, educational activities for the children. Sam Hahn taught the students how to make paper airplanes. The students then used their own design strategies to see which plane could fly the farthest. This activity allowed students to use creativity and problem solving skills in a learning environment.
February 2012: Sa Nimá members worked with Casa Sito to assist in dinámicos, or icebreakers, in the middle school. The particular activity in this photo encouraged students to go outside of their comfort zone and partner with peers they may not usually speak with. The dinámicos encouraged the students to voice their own opinions during the activities, so they would similarly express their ideas in class.
May 2011: Sa Nimá Collaborative met with established organizations in Guatemala such as the Peace Corps and Hug It Forward. In this photo, a school was being built. The main walls of the building were constructed using plastic bottles filled with wrappers, plastic, and other trash. The bottles were then tied to chicken wire in panels, and once this was done, three layers of cement are applied on top of the bottles. This project taught students the value of local sustainability, while also reducing the cost of building their new school.
May 2010: Sa Nimá members worked with elementary school students to paint a colorful mural on the school building. The mural was a map of Guatemala and included important landmarks along with the community of Samox San Lucas, where the school is located. The mural of Guatemala encouraged the teachers and students to paint more images on the school in late 2011.
In 2002, we began as an inter-campus initiative founded by medical students. Our aim was to promote social responsibility in healthcare workers through the exploration of international health issues. Sa Nimá Collaborative was a component of the student alliance GlobalREACH, whose mission was to facilitate health research, education, and collaboration. Until 2008, Sa Nimá Collaborative worked with a small village of 1400 people called Rancho al Medio in the Dominican Republic. The population of Rancho al Medio consists largely of women, children, and the elderly. During our time in Rancho al Medio, we saw the community gain widespread access to electricity, become educated about water-related health issues, develop a neighborhood association, and begin construction of pipelines to bring running water to houses throughout the community.
Since 2009, we have worked in Samox San Lucas, a rural community in Guatemala with a population of approximately 550 people. Our relationship within the community becomes stronger each year as we learn more about their culture. In the past we have done projects involving the construction of a biosand water filter, painting a mural of Guatemala and decorating the school, putting on educational after-school camps, holding health workshops, and having engineering and science based activities for the elementary school students. Sa Nimá Collaborative's in-country partner is CasaSito, an NGO based in Antigua, Guatemala that serves several rural Guatemalan communities through cultural activities and educational opportunities.
In the past years, Sa Nimá Collaborative has been comprised of students from the U-M School of Medicine, School of Public Health, College of Engineering, and the School of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts (LSA). Currently our membership contains students from the School of Social Work, the School of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts (LSA), Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and the College of Engineering. Regardless of academic background, our organization challenges students to explore and to create unique solutions to global problems. It provides our members with an opportunity to implement these solutions from start to finish. We look for students from a wide variety of backgrounds to join Sa Nimá Collaborative, because we believe the development service work that our organization takes part in is applicable to all fields.
Our goal is to collaborate with the residents of the communities where we work, in order to improve their living conditions through hard work and innovation. The relationship between the students in our organization and the community is meant to be symbiotic, and the benefits should be shared fifty-fifty. We aim to develop leaders within our own organization as well as in the communities we work with. As Sa Nimá Collaborative expands to include more domestic and international efforts our ultimate goal remains the same: to create sustainable change.
Sa Nimá Collaborative is always looking for new members who are interested in our domestic and international work!
Our meetings take place on Tuesdays from 7:00 - 8:30 pm in the Perlman Honor's Commons (seminar room G421B) on the Ground Floor of Mason Hall. We welcome those interested to attend any of these meetings.
For more specific questions about Sa Nimá's goals, structure, or upcoming events, or if you would like to be added to our email list, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by our Executive Board Meetings on Sundays from 4-6 pm in the Perlman Honors Commons.