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Kazarian's Summer Break Takes Her To The Island Of Sumba

Jackie Kazarian traveled to Sumba to volunteer for the Sumba Foundation.
Jackie Kazarian traveled to Sumba to volunteer for the Sumba Foundation.

Nov. 1, 2008

Kazarian's Photo Gallery Of Her Trip To Sumba

While other college students were spending their summer breaks at the mall or at the beach, San Diego State senior golfer Jackie Kazarian was on a plane headed for the tiny island of Sumba, located in the southern part of Indonesia.

Kazarian was part of a contingent from the United States representing the Sumba Foundation, a non-profit organization that was founded in 2001, that, according to its website, was founded to lessen the harsh impacts of poverty on the island. The organization sponsors projects that focus on health, education and construction of clinics, schools and potable water sources. On Sumba, the majority of the population that numbers over 600,000, follows the way of life that their ancestors have for generations.

A native of Dana Point, Calif., Kazarian become involved with the project through her former neighbor and high school friend, Emily Van Mourick, whose family is heavily involved with the Sumba Foundation.

Kazarian left the United States on July 5, flying via Hong Kong to Bali, where the contingent stayed for three days before taking the only flight of the week into Sumba.

Once on the island, Kazarian helped with several projects, including with children at the Pededewatu School. The group organized the school's library, painted colorful murals on the walls inside the classrooms and taught students about the importance of dental hygiene. They also distributed clothing and were able to spend some time playing games with the school children.

Another day, Kazarian and her friend, Emily, were able to accompany Dr. Claus Bogh, a Danish malaria specialist, to a new malaria clinic where the Sumba Foundation was helping to train nurses. The pair witnessed one of the malaria clinic's patients, a four-year-old boy who was infected with one of the worst strains of malaria. The boy and his pregnant mother had walked many miles to the clinic in order to receive care.

Kazarian also got to meet with a Sumbanese family at their village to observe one of the many mosquito nets that have been distributed in the area by the foundation to combat the spread of malaria.

The group spent one week in Sumba overall, before returning to Bali and eventually to the United States on July 19.

"After going to Sumba, it made me realize how the Sumbanese people live with very little and have such simple lives, yet they have the biggest smiles and are so happy," Kazarian said. "It shows that you don't need much to be happy. We are very lucky here in the States with everything we're able to have and the chances we have to do whatever we want."

Kazarian's trip sparked an interest in international travel for the kinesiology major, who will graduate next May.

"When I graduate I want to travel more and raise money for different (non-profit) organizations," Kazarian said. "It's the little things that you do that means the most and I want to see how I can help."