At first, I was apprehensive about returning home because I didn't want to forget all that I had seen or experienced. Nor did I want to forget the people that I had met along the way. In some way, each person, whether it was a work colleague, a travel companion, or a taxi driver, had left an indelible mark on my life. Their stories suddenly became my stories and their causes were mine as well. I wanted to fight every battle with them, large and small. From healthcare access to apartheid to child trafficking, I wanted to champion each cause until everyone was healthy, whole and free.
These emotions were compounded when I picked up a book called "Say You're One of Them" by Uwem Akpan, at the airport in Nairobi. This book told the stories of ordinary children in extraordinary circumstances throughout Africa. The stories include those of a young girl in Rwanda during the genocide, a brother and sister being fattened for slavery in Benin, two best friends in Ethiopia, and a family in Nigeria. It made me more committed to doing something more meaningful upon my re-entry to the States.
Now, two weeks later, as I sit and reflect on everything that transpired in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and South Africa over the last six months, I know that everything happened for a reason. It has forced me to re-examine my life, my career and my ambitions. I have had the opportunity to share my experiences with so many people already, who are curious about Rwanda or how they can lend their skills to developing countries. So I have compiled a list of organizations that I have worked with or come across that have similar projects around the world. These organizations work in Africa, Asia, North and South America, to improve the lives of men, women and children. They are looking for lawyers, accountants, entrepreneurs, artists, doctors, cooks, role models, and teachers. They need you.
ORGANIZATIONS MAKING A DIFFERENCE:
1. Pfizer Global Health Fellows: www.pfizer.com/ghf
2. Global Health Corps: www.ghcorps.org
3. Peace Corps: www.peacecorps.gov
4. Teach for America: www.teachforamerica.org
5. Venture for America: www.ventureforamerica.org
6. Go Overseas: www.gooverseas.com
7. AmeriCorps: www.americorps.gov
8. New Yorkers Volunteer: www.newyorkersvolunteer.org
9. Serve: www.serve.gov
10. Volunteers for Prosperity: www.volunteersforprosperity.gov
|With co-workers in Rwanda|
|With TEOH Project kids in Rwanda|