Throughout life there have been many people that have impacted my life in many ways. Throughout life there have been countless of people that have helped me become who I am. This is why it is one of my missions in life to always pay it forward.
I feel like sometimes we take for granted the help that we have received and come to think that we have come to where we are now, with our successes and triumphs, and often forget that we did not get here on our own. Although we each play a major role in helping and pushing ourselves to come to where we are now, there were many along the way that helped us in ways that we do not even acknowledge.
Although my life has been filled with obstacles from coming to this country, adapting to the culture here, growing up in a low income family etc. I cannot complain. I love the life that I have been able to live with all its obstacles and challenges because it is through those hard times that I have been able to grow, learn about myself, trust in God, and appreciate everyone and everything.
This is why volunteering and giving back in any that I can is such a big part of me.
Throughout my short 22 years of life I have been given the honor to help out others in many ways. For instance, I have been able to tutor and mentor high school students. I have also been able to use the English that I have learned thus far to help assist in teaching grown ups the English language. I have also been able to give my time to help feed those in need through several organizations.
My dream is to be able to take my passion for helping others and pay it forward in other countries. I was able to learn about an amazing program that will allow me to do just that late last year. I applied to the program without thinking and soon I got a confirmation that I was accepted to the Social Innovation Program in Tanzania that consisted of 40 days of volunteering. I fell in love with the organizations that I would be able to help out.
Operation Groundswell provides a volunteer experience that is very different from others. On this 40-day volunteer trip, OG has daily excrusions, educational programming and an overall imersive experience. Specific to the Tanzania program, I will be getting an inside look at the hotbed of social innovation and entrepreneurship taking place in Tanzania’s urban areas, running entrepreneurship and leadership workshops while getting a firsthand view of a women’s microfinance organization in rural Tanzania, engage with NGOs and local groups, as well as government departments regarding issues of gender and entrepreneurship both in urban and rural areas, I’ll be spending the majority of our time partnering with Femme International (whose co-founder is an OG alumni!) Femme works to advance the rights of women and girls through programs that address sexual health, menstruation, and feminine hygiene – topics that are largely stigmatized and taboo in the region (Besides learning about the upstream factors affecting these issues, we’ll help Femme execute workshops in the area and engage with other actors focused on social entrepreneurship and youth empowerment), from urban to rural Tanzania, we will make our way to the village of Ngongongare. The village sits in the foothills of Mount Meru and is the home community of our second partner, Jifundishe. Jifundishe is a local non-governmental organization focused on providing access to educational resources for all ages (I will join them in running entrepreneurship and leadership workshops in collaboration with their women’s micro-lending program and other groups in the community), among other things.
The program fee comes up to $3,475.00 which is broken down into $2,860.00 (which covers lodging and accomodations, three local meals a day, all group tours, entrance fees, and excrusions, etc.) and $615.00 as the community contribution. The community contribution is broken down as follows:
-82% goes straight to the partners OG works with in these countries to put towards the work they do!
-10% goes to an organization called PlanetAir based in Canada; they do awesome work in carbon offsetting. I’ll be flying to East Africa and plane carbon emissions are not minimal. PlanetAir’s projects work to offset these emissions and include things such as wind farms, creating energy from waste gas and heat, and reforestation.
-8% goes back to OG for administrative costs, and this is all they ask of the entirety of my costs.
Being able to take part in this program would mean the world to me. I know that I do not need to go far to help someone else, however I would like to pay it forward and give me time and energy to help those in another area in the world. This experience will not only allow me to give back to others by helping them improve their lives but also learn about myself through those I encounter while learning about a different culture, which is something that I am very passionate about.
If I am unable to fundraise the whole amount, I will not be able to take part in this life-changing, once in lifetime opportunity, I will be donating the amount fundraised to the organizations that I would have been volunteering with.
I appreciate any and all donations.
Here is the link to my GoFundMe page