Pictured: Goyal and students participating in Esperanza Project

Turning Learning into Action

USask grad student Sakshi Goyal turned learning into action when she took the opportunity to volunteer with an international non-profit organization known as the Esperanza Project. After years of studying global health and the social determinants of health, the chance to utilize hands-on experiences to positively impact youth through education helped Goyal advance her learning on a more personal level.

By Kassidy Guy

Goyal was born in India and earned a three-year undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences in Melbourne, Australia in 2016. Shortly after completing her degree, she moved to Canada to join her family.

Upon arriving in Canada, Goyal began the process of reforming her undergraduate degree into a four-year Arts & Science degree and applying into USask’s Master of Public Health program through CGPS. “I love that I had this exciting opportunity to consolidate, enhance, and integrate my prior knowledge and gain a global perspective on public health while acquiring much-needed skills and knowledge,”. Entering grad school equipped Goyal with the resources to expand her knowledge on global health and disease prevention with a combination of research and skills-based learning.

As someone with a driving interest in global inequities, addressing social determinants of health, and enhancing global health, the Master of Public Health program was the perfect tie-in with Goyal’s previous experiences. “A lot of improvements in health such as infectious disease prevention and water quality improvement have occurred in the realm of public health historically,” explained Goyal, “It’s vital to continue and support ongoing work in public health, build upon our strengths, and enhance the health of communities we work in,”. 

One day, while on the phone with a friend, Goyal learned about a non-profit organization known as the Esperanza Project that provided education for children aged 3 to 18 in schools in the Dominican Republic. As someone with a passion for addressing social determinants of health, it seemed like a no-brainer for Goyal to send along an application to get involved. In seemingly no time, Goyal packed her bags and found herself traveling to the Caribbean to participate in the Esperanza Project.

Goyal spent her time in the Caribbean teaching children Math and English but found that the experience helped her learn plenty herself. “Before going to the Dominican, I knew I loved teaching and would have a lot to offer the children, but I didn’t know how much I would gain from this experience,”. Goyal’s personal goal when joining the project was to help children with diverse learning needs grow, thrive, and provide both fun and educational opportunities to help them reach their full potential; however, she came home from this journey with humbling experiences, pleasant memories and wonderful friendships to last a lifetime. She hopes to utilize her skills through these eye-opening experiences to make an impact on the Saskatchewan community by addressing existing inequities and social determinants of health.

If you are interested in getting learning more and getting involved with the Esperanza Project, visit https://www.esperanzaproject.ca/.