How Our 2011 Grantees Empowered and Advanced Their Communities
“The recyclers… were simply working to try to make a better life for their children. Plans were developed using the recyclers’ input and these projects were implemented with their hard work.”
“Volunteering with SiKanda with the help of the InterExchange Christianson Grant has allowed me to change the direction of my life in ways that I never expected previously.”
New Delhi, India
Kristin worked with Apne Aap, an organization focused on informing women of their rights, providing them with legal assistance, helping girls to enroll in schools, and connecting women with information and access to resources they need.
“I left a year ago for a year-long, unpaid internship with Apne Aap Women Worldwide, an Indian anti-sex trafficking organization, full of excitement, drive and uncertainty about what this year would teach me. I had been to India twice before and each time, its “charm” had captured me. I wanted to commit to a full working year to benefit myself, give back to an organization and more importantly, help educate my family back home.”
“To simply say, ‘This was the best year of my life’ is too generic, but also completely true. I am forever changed by the people I met, the challenges I faced, and the places I went to. The images and faces will always be with me, inspiring me.”
The Kasokwa Forest and surrounding communities are places that I now love and consider my home. I was fascinated to find that humans and primates share a dramatic and often angsty relationship, and it was a perfect place for me to live and understand human-wildlife conflict.
“The messy relationship between humans and primates was never clearer to me than when I aided two field assistants with a baboon-human conflict project. There are two troops of baboons that reside in the Kasokwa Forest, and as any resident near the forest will tell you, baboons are the worst crop raiders - they seem to eat any type of crop! This project’s aim was to gain more information on how baboons crop raid in order to help growers understand how to minimize conflict.”
Carlyn worked as an environmental conservation volunteer with the Foundation for Ecological Security, where she interviewed families, analyzed data, and gained an appreciation for Indian culture.
“India, and the state of Rajasthan in particular, are known for its spicy food, vibrantly colored clothing, and festive music. What has not managed to be packaged so neatly in a stereotype or captured so easily in a postcard image, is the magnificent spectrum of cultural diversity that exists not just in India as a whole, but even within the locale I worked and lived in for eight months as an environmental conservation volunteer.”
Playa Samara, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Lauren worked with Asocicación CREAR, which provides supplemental education and recreation opportunities for youth in the rural beach communities surrounding Playa Sámara.
“I was able to work on and watch as many wonderful partnerships and collaborations with organizations, community members, and international and local volunteers developed and came to fruition. One such partnership was between CREAR and the Omprakash Foundation, whose main initiative is encouraging and nourishing learning collaborations and connections within their network to support greater change.”
“Our students spent a week in New Student Orientation where they were given the skills and tools they need to excel at university and within our scholarship program. After orientation, students were required to spend ten weeks in intensive language and computer training. I spent the months of June, July, and August teaching English daily to 15 of our new students. As long as those days felt, it was an incredible opportunity to get to know the new students and see them grow as individuals.”
Learn about life abroad
Read about the adventures others have had and get excited for yours.