Inspiration for this blog came from an email received from Donna McGibney, who very graciously permitted me to share her story. It is a story that will resonate with many of you and one I hope will also inspire you. She was just seven years old when her 2nd grade teacher, Mrs Joan Finks, whispered […]
Making time for play is vital and those of us who were fortunate enough to grow up before the emergence of cellphones and technology appreciate the sense of freedom and delight playtime brought. Playtime was synonymous with playing outside, skinning our knees, using our imagination and just having fun. Thinking about my own childhood, and […]
I would like to start with this quote from a former President of the United States as it so relevant to our Education Fund Program and what we are trying to achieve. “Education is like a diamond with many facets: It includes the basic mastery of numbers and letters that give us access to the […]
The Amara Charitable Trust team have been busy these past few weeks planning for their second fundraising event of the year. Our first event in April, themed, “Music with a Purpose”, was a fun-filled afternoon with live music, art auction, delicious food and our wonderful supporters who made the function a resounding success. Attendees got […]
“When you focus on someone’s disability, you’ll overlook their abilities, beauty and uniqueness. Once you learn to accept and love them for who they are, you subconsciously learn to love yourself unconditionally.” – Yvonne Pierre, The Day My Soul Cried: A Memoir History teaches us that people living with disabilities were often mistreated and in […]
As the world marks International Women’s Day, on 8th March, many of us will find ways to acknowledge and celebrate women we know, admire, and especially those women who influence and inspire us, hopefully to be better versions of ourselves. As I write this blog, certain questions come to mind. What is the genesis of […]
In our newsletter that was circulated at the end of December 2022, one reader flagged a specific adjective “underserviced” that we used when referring to communities we work with as opposed to the more commonly used “underprivileged”. Underprivileged is usually used to describe a person who does not enjoy the same standard of living or […]
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” – Kahlil Gibran
Many years ago, I listened to a story about giving, not just material stuff or money but of yourself. The narrator went on to say that we should all learn how to give, otherwise we would be no better than the Dead Sea. Now that analogy aroused my curiosity and I went on to read about the Dead Sea to understand why the reference was used.
Now, at nearly 1,400 feet below sea level, the Dead Sea, is the lowest point on earth. The sea is fed by the waters from the River Jordon, freshwater springs and aquifers. However, due to its lack of outflow, water gathers in the Dead Sea and then evaporates, leaving behind salt and minerals, making it one of the saltiest water bodies. Owing to the high salinity levels, it does not support any life form other than some microbial life, effectively earning its name and all because it does not have an outflow!
So the moral of that story was in order to survive and thrive you need to give not just take. Now, I am not saying that if you don’t give, you will in time, fade away like the Dead Sea! The point I am trying to make is, you would never know the simple joy that comes from volunteering, or the sense of peace that comes from knowing you impacted someone’s life in a meaningful way, touched a heart and maybe even inspired someone.
Volunteering for a cause that matters make people feel good about giving back. It is a chance for volunteers to learn new skills, network, build community and improve their overall wellbeing.
18th July marks Mandela Day and each year people worldwide are encouraged to celebrate the anti-apartheid leader’s devotion to public service by spending 67 minutes of their time in helping others. 67 minutes is significant as it marks the 67 years Nelson Mandela spent in prison. The iconic leader strongly advocated for helping others and left behind a legacy of service that is worth emulating.
“There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to help others without expecting anything in return.”– Nelson Mandela
International Volunteer Day, which falls on 5th December is another day that encourages individuals to carry out acts of service in their communities.
At Amara Charitable Trust, we are fortunate to have a band of loyal, passionate individuals we call family but are otherwise known as volunteers. Our volunteers believe in our vision and are committed to the success of the different programs we run. We hope we never take their enthusiastic selflessness for granted.
Deepali Karani, following her self-imposed retirement from the corporate world in 2016, has been volunteering at Amara Charitable Trust where she provides administration and financial support. She keeps us on track with our finances and guides and trains the Admin staff on basic accounting and record keeping. A person of many talents, one of which is painting, she recently painted message boards for us which are on display at Empakasi Secondary School, where they brighten the environment while imparting motivational messages.
Artwork by Deepali
Tanvi Shah, joined the team in 2017 and with strong administrative skills has assisted with organizing the Education Fund Program portfolio. She was instrumental in creating spreadsheets to capture student data and other information and happily assists where needed.
Aashnaa Savani, although her training is in finance, she is a covert social media content creator. Having been involved with Amara since she was 12 years old, she has a deep understanding of our organization and brings a fresh perspective to our social media presence. Full of infectious enthusiasm it is hard not to be inspired by her.
Isha Dave, is often called upon for her artistic abilities and assists us with our newsletter layouts, flyers, cards, banners and just about everything where creativity is needed, including helping out on our social media platforms. Even with her busy work schedule she always makes the time to help out.
Onesmus, Wambugu and Festus all bring their own set of strengths to the team, from driving us safely to the distant schools, making deliveries to heavy lifting when needed. We know we would never manage without their willingness and generosity of spirit. When we visit schools, they are often found, quietly speaking with students, watering the shambas, taking photos or instinctively helping where needed.
We have other volunteers that we call upon on an ad hoc basis especially for fund raising events, our menstrual health and pad-making workshops, website support and school visits. They willing give their time to support us no matter how much we ask of them.
The students we support are also encouraged to give back and volunteer for community visits organized by the college and mentorship talks at their former schools.
Looking back on all the times I volunteered what has remained with me through the years, is the connection to the communities where I served and how they shaped my perspective and made my life richer for the experience. There is a lot to be gained from volunteering, least of all a sense of purpose.
As the year stretches out before us filled with opportunities for doing good, we hope to encourage more people to volunteer their time and talents to a cause that resonates with them. We do not have to wait for a special day to volunteer. We can carry out acts of service wherever we are in our communities, at our place of work, even in our homes. Do not let a moment to do good pass.
“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” – Oscar Wilde
If you would like to know more about how you can volunteer, please let us know in the comments section below.
Growing up an avid reader, I was often referred to as a bookworm. As a child, I always viewed reading books as magical. A book was my magic carpet that transported me to faraway places and ignited my imagination. Reading opened my mind to all the wondrous possibilities that existed outside of my world, it […]
Every individual has their vision of what for them would be the ideal world. For me, my ideal world is largely influenced by my recent interaction with the school communities. If I were to envision a new world order today, it would be one where there is equity in education, every child would have access […]