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UC’s “In Defense of Humanity” class fundraises to support child in Africa


Williamsburg, Ky. – University of the Cumberlands’ (UC) In Defense of Humanity class has been fundraising to earn $910 in order to support a child as a part of a campus wide project through the World Vision Foundation. Dr. Christopher Leskiw, Professor of History and Political Science, and Gina Bowlin, Professor of Human Services, teach the class together based on their passion for human rights.

The class started as an educational forum for students to build awareness for human rights and global atrocities, such as genocide, human trafficking, child labor and disease. Students studied heavy, challenging material during the year and were looking for a way to give hope back to people who had suffered according to both Dr. Leskiw and Bowlin.

“Dr. Leskiw and I had some common interests in advocating for other people,” Bowlin said. “It’s an eye-opener for both of us.”

The class was designed to create awareness; however, the students ran away with the idea of finding a project that can help someone in need. After learning about the genocide in Rwanda 20 years ago, the students turned their thoughts towards Africa. Matthew Frye (Williamsburg, KY) officially proposed the idea with two other ideas from students, but his was chosen to become the class project, and it eventually spread across the campus.

“If everyone on campus gave a dollar, we’d have double the money,” Frye said about the fundraising. “I think it’s an achievable goal.”

This class project is voluntary, but a majority of the class is participating, donating time and effort and also organizing everything. Students are leading groups, baking goods to sell at one of their many bake sales and contacting people for donations. Cole Peavler (Danville, KY), another student and volunteer, showed devotion and pride for the project.

“I always wanted to do this, but I never took the initiative before this class,” Peavler said.

Dr. Leskiw and Bowlin went into further detail about the campus child, Jolie, and how the money raised will help her and her entire community. According to Dr. Leskiw and Bowlin, Jolie is four years old and lives in a refugee camp in Kipushi, Democratic Republic of Congo. She lives in an environment where HIV/AIDS, typhoid and malaria run rampant and where the region has been devastated by genocide, war and political strife. Eighty seven percent of the money raised goes directly towards Jolie and her community, which is in dire need of a fresh water supply.

“That’s what’s really cool—you’re helping this kid, but you’re helping her community, too,” Dr. Leskiw said.

In order to raise the $910 needed to support Jolie for 26 months, a bake sale will be held in the Boswell Campus Center between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. the week of April 28. Students will be accepting donations, too.

For more information or to find out how to donate, please contact Ms. Gina Bowling or Dr. Christopher Leskiw.

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction which currently offers undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; 10 pre-professional programs; ten graduate degrees distributed over eight areas, including two doctorates and seven master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs. For more information, visit