Author Archives: jessicabalko

The Creatives (Group Three): An Aesthetic Journey

During the initial research stages, the three of us set out to learn more about Tanzania in order to gain an insight into Yasini’s background and experience. We knew that Yasini’s motivation for earning his degree is to help vulnerable women and children in Tanzania, he explained that these demographics are often denied basic rights such as the right to own property or to work. We also found out that many women throughout Tanzanian communities are still accused of which-craft. Belief in witchcraft is still strong throughout many Tanzanian societies, it is estimated as many as a thousand Tanzanian women are targeted and killed annually.

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Modern-Day Slavery

by Jessica Balko

In December of 1865, the United States of America abolished slavery with the addition of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. In 2007, Mauritania made slavery illegal. Free the Slaves provides an overview of slavery in history dating back to 6800BC. To date, slavery is illegal in every country; however, practices similar to slavery still exist today including domestic servants, sex trafficking, forced labor, bonded labor, and child labor. According to End Slavery Now, it is estimated that 28 million people are experiencing a modern-day form of slavery.

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Drip Irrigation System

International Development Enterprises India developed a drip irrigation system to be used by farmers who are expanding their acreage and are currently used in India, Nepal, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. According to Design Other 90 (, the drip irrigation system reduces the water use by 30-70%. In addition, it increases the harvest by just over 50%. The produce is of higher quality and therefore more marketable. The drip irrigation system can be used for various types of crops and requires little water pressure to function. The product is sold at a low cost.

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My mom wanted to name me Justine. Instead, I am just Jess.

I don't always take selfies.

I’m Jessica and unapologetically myself. I’m in love with the broken world we live in and I hope that my life will have a positive impact before I’m done here. I study music, peace studies, and studio art at the University of Notre Dame. I am incredibly grateful for the infinite love and support from my family as I pursue my dreams and passions. Continue reading