Madina's India Volunteer Trip & Morocco Spring '20

Hello everyone!

My name is Madina Zermeno, and I am a current sophomore at USC majoring in Political Science and minoring in Journalism on a pre-law track.  I am highly involved in campus life, and currently serve as an intern for the Latinx Student Assembly (LSA), am an elected e-board member for the Ansar Service Partnership (ASP) as the Community Outreach Chair, in addition to being a Joint Educational Project (JEP) volunteer at the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), am a member of the Society of Women in Law (SWIL), am a Spring Admit Ambassador, and am also a mentee as a part of the Undergraduate Mentorship Program (UMP) through the Latino/a Graduate Student Association.  

It is an honor to have been selected as a student participant in USC’s Alternative Winter Break service trip to Sikar, India this year, as well as AMIDEAST’s Area and Arabic Language Study Abroad in Rabat, Morocco next Spring semester 2020.  

India: The Alternative Breaks Program strives to empower students to be leaders of social change during their time at USC and beyond.  Anyone who knows me, knows that this speaks directly to my passion for social change and advocacy. We will be partnering with AVI “We Volunteer in India” to assist with service work in the underserved community of Banjara Basti. This trip will consist of three weeks of volunteering in local schools in Rajasthan and the Banjara Basti where students will try to learn about the barriers to economic and educational development in India by assisting a small community in creating sustainable solutions. Students will primarily instruct within either an established primary school in Sikar or an informal school within the Banjara Basti with the goal of inspiring a passion for learning. Your donations will not only help fund this trip but in turn bring materials to the schools, purchase new mats for the Banjara Basti, and install new blackboards wherever possible. It is our goal, as the AWB India group, to fundraise to provide whatever resources the local teachers and the AVI team thinks may benefit the community for years to come.

Here is a video from last years trip to get a better understanding of what we plan to do this year: 


Morocco: I am looking forward to immersing myself in a country defined by its diversity and intersectionality, and learn in more detail about the social and cultural implications of its society historically.  In the westernmost outpost of the Arab world, students will learn firsthand from leading faculty about Morocco's efforts to address contemporary issues such as gender rights, ethnic diversity, social justice, and democratization.

My love for culture and diversity fuels my excitement for this study abroad opportunity in Morocco. Morocco is the epitome of everything that intersectionality is, being a country that is on the northwestern tip of Africa and consisting of a long history of the meeting and blending of multiple civilizations.  However, the ultimate experience that caught my eye about this trip is the opportunity to participate in community-based learning. I have gained much experience through working with non-profits and community organizations all throughout San Diego and Mexico but have never had the opportunity to travel extensively for a semester abroad trip due to financial reasons. Having experience working with grassroot organizations, I hope to utilize my knowledge and passions to one day become a Civil Rights lawyer, UN ambassador, elected official, and/or Journalist, and I believe that the perfect way to gain real experience for all of these careers is through direct service and impact. A study abroad experience in Morocco will allow me to bridge all of the leadership and organizational skills I’ve developed and be able to implement them on a broader scale. 

I am attaching the link to the Morocco study abroad program here:

My goal of fundraising $2,000 will help with airfare, housing, food, transportation, etc for India, and it will aid in covering the cost of airfare for Morocco.  Anything is greatly appreciated!

With purpose,



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Madina Zermeno 
Bonita, CA
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