How Our 2013 Grantees Empowered and Advanced Their Communities

4 minute read

Kate B.

Kate B.
Port au Prince, Haiti

Kate worked for AMURTEL, an organization that works to improve the quality of life for Haitian women and children.

[My professor] looked at me and offered a challenge: “The dominant trend in development and organizational theory now tends to expect non-governmental organizations and nonprofits to operate like businesses… But what might we lose in pushing for a professional and business-like standard for all nonprofits? What are we missing?”

This year helped me test and refine my ideas about development and social change. However, more than any new theoretical orientation, I leave Haiti with a deeper appreciation of the limits of my education and background. I recognize my own bias in defining success and the best working style for any organization or community, and I am more willing to let others teach me alternative models for work.

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Elizabeth W.

Elizabeth W.
Quito, Ecuador

Elizabeth managed a volunteer program through Asylum Access Ecuador, which empowers refugees to live safely and rebuild their lives in Ecuador.

I will return to the U.S. with significant experience in working in an intercultural environment, a deep understanding of Ecuadorian culture, robust knowledge of challenges for refugees and asylum-seekers in Ecuador and Latin America, and a group of friends and former colleagues from at least 10 different countries. My international understanding and work experience have been significantly improved by this experience, and I am beyond grateful.

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Jason W.

Jason W.
Lusaka, Zambia

Jason worked at Ngoma Dolce Music Academy teaching jazz and eventually training Zambia's top drummer as his replacement.

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My main duty at Ngoma Dolce was to train a Zambian drummer who would later replace me. This meant that I first had to find my successor. After about two months of scouting nightclubs and concert venues and infiltrating the music scene of Lusaka, I found Charlie “Chax” Chambuluka. He had been voted Zambia’s best drummer several times (including once during my stay at the Zambian Music Awards) and had always dreamed of teaching at a place like Ngoma Dolce Music Academy.

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Sadaf H.

Sadaf H.
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Sadaf worked with BRAC to ensure the safe migration and reintegration of Bangladeshi migrant workers and their families.

I worked in BRAC’s Safe Migration Programme in Dhaka and deepened my understanding of the intricate links between migration and development in Bangladesh. The main goals of the Safe Migration Programme are to ensure the safe migration and reintegration of Bangladeshi migrant workers and their families through policy advocacy, media mobilization, and strengthening network alliances.

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Marijke K.

Marijke K.
Cape Town, South Africa

Marijke volunteered with Scalabrini Centre, a nonprofit organization working with asylum-seekers, refugees, and migrants. As the advocacy intern, Marijke was part of a team that provided, promoted, and protected equal rights to asylum-seekers and refugees.

One of my hopes going into the internship was to better understand refugee law and issues. These problems are not exclusive to South Africa, and through my press reviews for the Centre, I was able to understand and learn about refugee issues in Europe, Australia, Syria, and beyond.

Though I have not yet studied human rights or refugee law in an advanced degree program, I believe that my internship and experience with Scalabrini’s advocacy team has already put me ahead of other students who will enroll without this practical experience.

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Andrew D.

Andrew D.
Bangkok, Thailand

Andrew worked with Asylum Access Thailand as a Volunteer Legal Advocate, where he provided direct legal services to urban refugees in Bangkok, Thailand.

In certain parts of the world, many of the problems stem from religion. In other parts of the world, problems tend to stem from political opinion. For others, it’s ethnic problems. Whatever the problem is that is killing and damaging lives of thousands of innocent people worldwide, my work at AAT opened my eyes to many other types of problems around the world. Through my daily client interactions, I gained more of an international understanding of persecution.

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Lee B.

Lee B.
Puyo, Ecuador

Lee worked as a program coordinator for the Arajuno Road Project, which provides English language education and community development support to several rural primary schools outside of the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Learning Centers #arajunoroadproject#education#languageandliteracy

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I tried to convey the idea that the gratitude might need to go both ways. Of course, the Ecuadorians were grateful for our support and our time, but the volunteers could also be grateful for the opportunity to be welcomed into their communities, and for the patience that they showed us as we learned how to be better teachers.

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Jonathan G.

Jonathan G.
Lago Agrio, Ecuador

Jonathan worked with Asylum Access Ecuador, providing legal assistance to Colombian refugees.

As legal advisors, my coworkers and I assist people by preparing them for interviews with the Refugee Directorate, writing appeals to negative decisions, and helping with other processes such as family reunifications and late identity card renewals. We also empower our clients by providing information and helping them to access their rights as refugees.

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InterExchange Staff By

InterExchange is proud to have an experienced team that is dedicated to international cultural exchange. We come from a variety of backgrounds, but nearly every member of our New York City-based staff has extensive experience traveling, working, or living abroad.

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
The International Coalition for Global Education and Exchange
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation