I’m Anna, a member of Unlock Foundation’s Young Professionals Network. For my post, I would like to share an interesting and somewhat controversial blog post that I read about volunteer work in developing countries. You can read the post here.
This article highlights one of the many moral dilemmas about international aid and volunteer work – how much difference can individuals who live in developed, far away places, actually make? What is the best way to help?
One of the things that really struck a chord with me in the post was the writer’s personal story of how she, along with a group of young high school girls, attempted to build a library for an orphanage in Tanzania. The problem was that, understandably, none of these girls had any idea about how to construct a building. The girls would work during the day, only to have their work corrected overnight by locals who actually did have the skills to build the library.
For me, the appeal of joining Unlock Foundation’s Young Professionals Network was that we can use our own unique skills to help our partner schools in Ghana and Namibia, even though we are based in New York City.
We fundraise, promote and advocate for the organization. We listen to the student governments, who tell us what they need to make their schools a place where they are comfortable and ready to learn. We use local people to implement our projects. Our founder, Scott, maintains strong ties with our local partners. In summary, we are putting our skills to good use! We are able to help our partner schools, but we let them decide what they want. They are, after all, the people who will use and benefit from the projects and programs we help implement.
I personally am very excited to be part of a non-profit organization like Unlock Foundation. The organization is growing and we have great plans for 2014! Watch this space.