By Alina Ahamed ’27

A Wartburg College student’s plan to empower individuals living with HIV/AIDS in South Sudan received a $10,000 grant from the Davis Projects for Peace program.

Boboya Gabu, a sophomore in public health, will travel to the Greater Mundri community in South Sudan this summer to begin the project, which will train about 40 individuals in marketable skills like sewing, weaving, liquid soap making and hair dressing. This training will improve their employability which in turn will help them generate income for their families and break free from the cycle of economic dependency.

Philanthropist Kathryn Wasserman Davis founded Davis Projects for Peace in 2007 to celebrate her 100th birthday. Davis, who died in 2013, committed $1 million annually to fund 100 grass-roots efforts by college students. The 2024 cohort is made up of 129 projects nominated by 94 partner institutions. The projects will take place in 69 countries around the world and 14 U.S. states. Wartburg students have received a grant every year since the program’s inception.

Boboya Gabu
Boboya Gabu

In addition to skills training, Gabu will partner with Lui Teaching Hospital and other community health service organizations to use radio spots to educate the general community about HIV/AIDS transmission, prevention, medication, stigma reduction and support services.

“My approach to executing the project is holistic and community centered. I am collaborating with local partners to ensure cultural sensitivity and community ownership,” Gabu said. “Personally, having experienced the loss of family members to HIV/AIDS, I felt a deep sense of urgency and responsibility to address the issue and combat the stigma that often surrounds it.”

Before Gabu returns to Wartburg, the participants will be trained to be future leaders in the program ensuring the continuation and expansion of the project’s impact.

“I am really excited about the potential impact of the project, and I am committed to empowering individuals living with HIV/AIDS in the Greater Mundri community to lead fulfilling and sustainable lives,” he said.