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conducted research on mental health needs of univer- sity students and how war impacts their educational trajectories. He also created a youth empowerment program, Pikin Padi, which means “friends of the children” in Krio, a local language. Among other things, the youth of Pikin Padi Network conceptualized and created a documentary on child labor. In exchange, Bulanda paid their school fees (required for secondary education). He also worked at an elementary school. “I really felt like it was what it meant to be a social

worker in the purest sense,” Bulanda says. “You develop programs where you see need and empower people to impact their community.” During his time in Si-


• Learn more about Pikin Padi at

• The child labor docu- mentary made by Pikin Padi youth can be viewed at 100498046.

• Read Bulanda’s blog about his time in Sierra Leone at sierraleone

erra Leone, Bulanda lived in a village outside of Freetown, the capital city. “There was electric-

ity about 5 percent of the time, and everyone walked far for water,” Bulanda says. “I prepared myself for challenges, but living next door to people in utter poverty—you never get used to that. I had neighbors living in rusted-out metal struc- tures. During the rainy

season, I would walk down the street and people’s roofs were blown off during the night. People had 25 cents a day to eat. It certainly transformed the way I think about what I spend five dollars on.” Bulanda returned to the United States in July of this

year and is now teaching at Aurora University, but his work in Sierra Leone is ongoing. Bulanda is an adjunct professor at the University of Sierra Leone, advising students as they write their senior theses. He continues to serve as the executive director of Pikin Padi and is sponsoring the educations of a number of students. He oversees two interns from afar. He remains in touch with many of those he worked

with while in the country. The proprietors of the elementary school at which Bulanda volunteered renamed the school after him—Jeff Bulanda Interna- tional Academy. Bulanda hopes to visit Sierra Leone in December,

although that is contingent on the status of the Ebola crisis. Regardless, he will spend May and June of 2015 there. “I’m looking forward to going back,” Bulanda says. “My work there is something I was meant to do. It’s who I am.”

Nkosana Maphosa (Zimbabwe) and Ketevan Sarajishvili (Georgia) ringing the bell in the garden at the John Felice Rome Center to mark the start of the academic year (a PROLAW tradition).


PROLAW: becoming part of the solution

Loyola program trains rule of law leaders for nations in transition

Nations that are developing, in economic transition,

or recovering from violent conflict need qualified and effective rule of law advisors. These advisors can mobilize leaders and reformers to change policy, strengthen institutions, and foster a culture of accountability. Loyola’s PROLAW program, taught at the John Felice Rome Center, and attended by students from around the world, pro- vides the training and experience to meet this need. So far, 63 legal professionals from 37 countries have

participated in the PROLAW program. The students in the third PROLAW cohort have just completed their theses. Of the 44 PROLAW students in the first two years, 20 returned to work in their own governments. Fifteen are working with international development missions, peacekeep- ing operations, and nongovernmental organizations in countries in transition. Vital to the PROLAW philosophy is the idea that outside

experts can support countries pursuing better gover- nance, but change must come from within. PROLAW graduates are not only trained to act as high-level techni- cal experts; they are also trained to act as advocates and leaders for change.

FALL 2014


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