Stories from Planet Aid’s Scholarship Program: Mikki Bistransky Helps Empower Vulnerable Children in Zambia

Planet Aid’s Scholarship Program funds international development training at Richmond Vale Academy (RVA)


Planet Aid Scholarship recipient Michelle (Mikki) Bistransky is getting a crash course in international community development with three months of training at Richmond Vale Academy (RVA), in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and six months of hands' on experience in Zambia. The following are some of her experiences and reflections on the program.

Training at RVA

The first two months of the 10 month program were spent at RVA training for a six-month trip to Zambia, Africa. At RVA, Bistransky participated in a host of activities, including working with students at Arnos Vale Girls School to revitalize their garden with ecologically friendly and sustainable lasagna layering techniques.

RVA Visit to Arnos Vale Girls School
1 RVA students revitalize the Arnos Vale Girls School garden
Planting seeds
2 RVA students prepare to plant cucumber, watermelon and squash.
Mikki with her RVA friends
3 It isn't all work. RVA students also have a good time
RVA Gardening
4 RVA students help make the Arnos Vale Girls School garden
Default image alt text
5 An optional caption for the image that will be added to the gallery. Enter any descriptive text for this image that you would like visitors to be able to read.


Bistransky and other RVA students also visited St. Benedict Day Nursery and Children's Home as part of their community outreach. Over the course of the week they helped the groundskeeper with maintenance like cleaning and weeding in the local garden, tutored children, and entertained with music, dancing and movies.

As part of a community action project after Independence Day, Bistransky's team cleaned up their local beach, collecting about 15 trash bags.

"We were not expecting the amount of trash we found and it sometimes felt overwhelming, but in the end, we were really proud of the progress we made," she said. "Of course, there is still more work to be done and more stretches of beach to clean up, but this was a great first step to a much larger project."

The last weekend, Bistransky's team worked on repairing an outdoor classroom by harvesting, measuring, sawing, and installing reeds to line the fence surrounding the classroom.

"This project was physically demanding, but great for building skills in carpentry and tools use such as machetes. Could not have been such a success if not for my amazing team," she said.



About the Planet Aid Scholarship Program

Planet Aid supports scholarship internships to Richmond Vale Academy, in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The internship helps to nurture and develop community organization skills and provides an opportunity to learn about sustainability at a grassroots level.

During this two-month training, students prepare for their six-month assignment to assist with capacity-building and community organization to implement development projects in specified communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Lia Ramirez and Paula Rodriguez participated in the Richmond Vale Academy internship program. Lia comes from a business and industrial management background and Paula worked in architectural design, but both wanted to make an impact outside of the office.

Watch and listen as the two share their stories about their unforgettable experience working as teachers in Malawi.