Peace Corps Volunteers as Versatile Educators

Education remains to be an essential part of the Peace Corps’ work.  Many of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, whose donations comprise the PCCA collection, worked in some form of education during their service.  The Peace Corps Community Archive contains documents, photographs, letters, and training materials from individuals who served in a variety of educational settings.  Those experiences include classroom teaching, preparing educational materials, producing educational television programming, providing training for local educators, and community development.

Boge Boys 1965

Boge (second row, eighth from left) poses with other Peace Corps volunteers and the boys’ Basic Training School near Hyderabad, India.

Boge Girls 1965

Winifred Boge with students at the girls’ school in Hyderabad.

Winifred Boge served in India in 1965, where she worked with Basic Training Schools for men and women.  The Basic Training Schools educated and prepared local citizens to work as teachers in community schools.  The majority of Boge’s work relied on her training as a dietician to educate teachers-in-training about basic nutrition and wellness.  Several photos of Boge depict her serving meals for the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) mid-day meal program, which delivered lunch to students who might not otherwise have access to regular meals.

Boge serving mid-day meals for CARE (1965).

Boge serving mid-day meals for CARE (1965).

A different form of education also occurred in India at the Andhra Pradesh Science Workshop.  As Steve Bossi’s experience demonstrates, the group collaborated with local teachers to improve methods used in science education.  Volunteers at the Andhra Pradesh Science Workshop assisted with the publication of the Science Teachers’ Handbook.  A copy of the handbook can be found in the collection.

Bossi and Science Teacher Workshop participant. Written on image reverse: “This little wonder is an improvised spring balance made from a piece of bamboo, strapping and music wire.”

Between 1965 and 1966, Terry Kennedy participated in a unique program organized by the Colombian Government—Colombia Educational Television Project.  The program sought to create educational programming for schools, as well as train local teachers how to strategically incorporate the programming into their classroom instruction.  Stanford University collaborated with the project to evaluate the program’s effectiveness and overall success.  One of Stanford’s final reports is located in the PCCA collection.

Perhaps one of the more unique experiences is that of Margie Tokarz, who served in Antigua during the late sixties.  She worked in collaboration with the Red Cross to educate deaf children.  A set of personal letters document her experiences working with the Red Cross, as well as another teacher from England.

Each of these individuals and their experiences represent the types of education Peace Corps volunteers carried out during their time abroad.  However, these are only a few of the stories available in the collection. If you’re interested in learning more, make an appointment to come and browse the collection.