By Kanika Rohatgi
East Africa is a world away to me, a place that, quite embarrassingly, I had no knowledge of beyond a day’s lesson in some class or the smattering of news reported in the paper. Say East Africa, or Africa for that matter, and it conjured up images of safaris, poor villages, and lively, thudding music. So at first blush, Asante Africa Foundation seemed like an odd choice. Yet, everything I’ve learned since has given me a distinct appreciation of the area, the importance of Asante’s work, and moreover, why it was the best choice for me.
I reached out to Asante Africa with the mindset to help in the broadest sense. Asante Africa Foundation was one blip in a sea of information, but it stood out to me. With some research, I discovered that Asante Africa Foundation’s mission was fundamentally aligned with a value close to my heart. Having worked and volunteered in mostly child-centric programs since my teens, I developed an inclination towards childhood advocacy, particularly within the realm of education. Consistent access to quality education makes all the difference. It spells the difference between creating more of the same or a generation of creators, innovators, and doers. It arms youth with tools to cultivate success, not only for themselves, but for their families and communities, as well. Girls’ education, particularly, is at the epicenter of so many sociocultural and health issues that it deserves special attention. Education is a facilitator for confidence, self-sufficiency, self-advocacy, and personal safety. Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine the impact, especially when we tend to view the system as a means to an end -a diploma, degree, or job- but truly, education serves as the foundation for a broadly successful life.
At its core, education is a show of optimism, where you dream of and work towards uncertain success. Optimism is an invaluable perspective to have- to view the world as a good place, where wrongs can be righted and hardship can be alleviated. It’s the belief that, while you may not be solving all the world’s problems, if you keep trying, your small efforts will help chip away at the bad and reinforce the good.
Such exercises always begin with the greatest of intentions, yet, in all honesty, there are times when you question if you are actually doing anything of any consequence. From my experience, Asante Africa stands apart on this measure. Asante Africa Foundation, despite being a relatively small workforce, has been able to harness talents in order to create real impact. I’ve appreciated that the team, all highly proficient and dedicated individuals, have turned my nebulous idea to “help” into actionable objectives, not only creating efficient and meaningful results, but also allowing me to learn and develop new skills in parallel.
Kanika lives in Florida, and volunteers with our Marketing team. If you’re interested in volunteering with Asante Africa Foundation, check out the volunteer opportunities on our website.