How Our 2008 Grantees Empowered and Advanced Their Communities
3 minute read
The combination of experiences... has illustrated the resiliency of the human spirit.
My time in India granted me the unique opportunity to observe the complex set of social issues plaguing Southern India, participate in grassroots outreach, and witness firsthand how the effects of empowerment ripple through a community. Though I have worked in social welfare previously, the opportunity to do so internationally and without comfort zones made me vulnerable to an array of feelings, from injustice to admiration, despair to compassion, fostering a deep respect for people from all nations.
Bocas del Toro, Panama
Jeffrey worked with the Alliance for Conservation & Development, a Panamanian non-governmental organization based in Panama City and devoted to promoting sustainable development
… By funding my summer volunteer work with a Panamanian non-profit environmental organization, the InterExchange Foundation helped me reexamine my role as a global citizen whose daily life both affects and is affected by the daily lives of countless other individuals, communities, and countries throughout the world.
My stay in Tanzania, in both length and location, has given me a perspective I would never have been able to gain otherwise. I have been able to talk with local farmers about farming and the produce markets, I have been able to talk with teachers about students, teaching methods, and foreign investment, and I have been able to talk with my Tanzanian counterparts about the impact and perception of the United States in East Africa.
Kibale National Park, Uganda
Jeff worked with Kasiisi School Project, which supports schools through building classrooms, funding extra teachers, funding post secondary students, providing lunch, supporting conservation education, addressing the needs of girls, and training teachers.
We had to design a way to charge 100 laptops using one generator because the school has no power, train teachers who have never used a computer, and help in the daily computer classes. After a short 10 weeks, the OLPC Corps team was gone and I took over supervising the deployment. I continued training the teachers, arranged for them to attend a traditional computer class at the nearest University, and dealt with numerous electrical, computer, and classroom issues. The Kasiisi Primary School OLPC deployment was a huge success.
This exchange of ideas, beliefs, cultures, stories, hugs, laughs, tears, awkward moments and lives was the most important element of my experience in Ecuador and something that I will never forget.
The philosophy behind the project is that the children, the next generation of La Y, will learn to cultivate plants in a way that is environmentally friendly and sustainable. In addition, the products from the garden will be used to supplement the school lunch, which is usually prepared with canned and dry foods provided by the government. The “huertos escolares” project has been extremely successful as far as participation from the community.
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