In the 14 years that ELI has been arranging volunteer programs there have been many amazing stories of what volunteers have done after their trip. It would be impossible to name all the alumni who have started foundations or done fundraising for the organization they worked with. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised and donated. Orphanages have been built, food programs for kids have been begun, school fees have been paid.
One African-American volunteer, Amber, started a non-profit, The Beauty Gap, with the idea of promoting self-esteem in African girls: “I started doing more research on how we formulate our self-image and self-acceptance. I became fascinated by the role dolls played in self-acceptance by providing self-affirming imagery.” Read about the work she did here, raising funds to send dolls of color to African girls.
A British brother and sister team who volunteered with us in India years ago lead annual trips to India with groups of ten who all pay a set fee for the trip. The pooled profits are donated to the projects that they visit... brilliant!
Another favorite is the African Soup, a project begun by Brin Enterkin after her microfinance internship in Uganda. She's back living in Uganda now, working with our coordinator Michael Kaidhiwa. Here's how she describes their work:
"... since our inception, we have built a robust Primary School serving grades P1-P7; a fully operational campus with two boarding homes, teacher and volunteer housing; an outdoor kitchen which serves all students two hot meals/day; access to clean water through two boreholes for both the school and village; access to healthcare for all 352 of our students as needed; and a series of community workshops that educate the surrounding village members about sanitation, hygiene, family planning, healthcare, and nutrition. But there is still more to be done."
Interested in the microfinance program that got her started? Check out it out here.
As I said, their are too many of these stories to enumerate here. We're happy to have played a small part by introducing these "doers" to worthy projects that have inspired them to act to create a better world.
By Kevin O'Neill