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Good Neighbours

Ruth Lebelo-Almaw
Ruth’s project examined community and individual responses to Canada’s points-based immigration system, as well as the problem of inoperative foreign credentials. Ruth’s research internship and career-based internship at Good Neighbours demonstrated her commitment to knowledge and community development, which has led her into her Master’s of Arts degree.

Lived at home for first year. “My biggest fear was that I wouldn’t meet people. But at Huron, the classes are small. You get to know your classmates and your professors facilitate group discussions.”

Ruth’s father created an NGO (HORCO, Amharic for Hope and Rural Children and Orphans) that creates sustainable water resources in Ethiopia. Ruth has been able to put learning from Global Development Studies into practice. She has helped with grants and funding, and event planning. “I have a passion for the work, so I’m able to excel at it,” she says. “Other development programs might be instituted by a giant development agency, but this is grassroots, bottom-up work.

I see that it works and I’m able to use real-life experiences from school and use professors’ expertise when I’m doing work for my family’s NGO.  “Development Studies and Political Science have given to me tools and strategies to help in a way that doesn’t cause offense or deny someone’s agency.”

So the Rwanda course is pretty cool. It is an experiential learning course, so it is a very hands on experience. We have been preparing every other week in class (Jan-April) through class debates, discussions, seminar presentations etc. These classes are really focused on understanding the country we are about to go to and the complexities that come with it.

Our focus has been on “the road to recovery” for Rwanda. You would assume that it would be a simple process of rebuilding, but the genocide had so many layers, so the recovery process is actually very nuanced. As well I have really enjoyed the process so far because I have gotten to know the other students really well through it, which is nice because when the time comes for the trip we won’t be complete strangers.

Its a unique Huron experience because it allows students to use a different form of learning beyond the classroom, and actually apply what we have been learning in class to the real world. As well we have been learning to view Rwanda beyond just a country that had been ravished by war, we’ve been learning about the beauty of the country, and how much it really has to offer. There are lot of assumptions about Rwanda, but going in tandem with the Huron experience, we are learning to think critically of these assumptions and actually seek out the truth, which can at times be difficult, but it has been a very rewarding process. I feel extremely blessed to be a part of this trip!

“One idea has been given to the public about this country and it’s completely simplified. Learning about how countries work and operate has been phenomenal. This course has made us go beyond naming possible solutions after conflicts, but really thinking through how we work with what’s available. And where should we look for accurate representations?”

“Leadership with Heart is knowing your position and privilege within the community, and understanding how your privilege can improve the community on a local and global level. When you can go home and know that you’ve lived your life in such a way that you’ve been an empathetic support, that’s leadership with heart. It’s more than being a boss. It’s doing something to the very best of your ability.”

Contact the Career Development Team to learn more about any of these internships!  Email Tasha Harvey,, or call 519.438.7224 ext. 890.