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SLU-Madrid Student Serves Vulnerable Children, Orphans in Kenya

Driven by his desire to help children as well as a firm conviction in the importance of education, SLU-Madrid student Manuel Rodríguez Alonso is currently living in a rural village in Kenya, where he volunteers at the St. Vianney Education Center. The center provides education, food and shelter, basic health care and recreational activities to vulnerable children.

Rodríguez Alonso’s duties at the center vary every day, depending on the needs that arise. One of his first projects was to construct a pipeline to bring water to the school compound. He also assists with the daily work of maintaining the center’s self-sustained farm and teaches English and science. He is also now involved in the construction of a girls’ dormitory. Through his work at the center, Rodríguez Alonso has helped serve orphans, children with special needs and those from low income families.

Rodríguez Alonso poses with children in the rural village in Kenya where he serves as long-term volunteer. He assists at the St. Vianney Education Center, which provides education, food and shelter, basic health care and recreational activities to vulnerable children.

After completing his sophomore year at SLU-Madrid, Rodríguez Alonso decided to take a semester off to pursue a long-term volunteer opportunity. He joined CIVS Kenya, a community development agency that operates in rural areas. The organization facilitates the placement of volunteers from all over the world in community projects, with a main focus on food security, water, sanitation, education and emergency relief.

When asked about his impressions so far, he commented, “I’ve learned a lot... When you come here, it’s like entering into another world. But it’s a good experience, and I’m very happy to be part of a project that brings education and love to people that need it the most.” When he completes his stay in Kenya, Rodríguez Alonso plans to continue his environmental science degree on the St. Louis campus.

The spirit of service is part of what makes Saint Louis University and its Madrid Campus distinct. Hundreds of students like Rodríguez Alonso volunteer, doing their part to give back to others. While studying on the Madrid Campus, students teach English, work with the elderly, and serve sandwiches to the homeless, just to name a few of their projects. Find out more about service opportunities for SLU-Madrid students (and faculty and staff) from Carlos Villar in the Office of Student Life.