Chris Pernick is a part of Asante Africa Foundation‘s USA Donor and Advising Team and also a participant at this year’s Global Strategy Meeting. She shares how chance and an alignment in ideologies led her to come on board, and tells us what she thought after seeing the Staff and Global Board in action for the first time.
(Asante Africa’s Global Team at the Strategy Meeting’2016)
“People ask why I would travel half way around the world to help children in rural Kenya. The simple answer? Because one very dedicated teacher asked for our help!
Sometimes, life leads you down unexpected roads. I love to travel, meet new people, experience different cultures, eat strange foods, and see beautiful landscapes. I never expected that one journey to see the
wonderful, exotic animals of Kenya and Tanzania would turn into a mission to help kids with Asante Africa Foundation.
The first day of our trip, we camped on Maasai lands and visited their primary school at Oloornganayio. The two room school was built by the tour company IntoAfrica along with donors from the US and the UK. One visit and you realize that there are many barriers the children have to overcome to get an education. We asked the question: “What do you need?” And the answer from Faith – who is the head teacher, and Jonathan who is the Village Chief, was that they had a class about to graduate and no place to teach them in. They needed a fourth grade classroom.
Though we continued our journey from there, our thoughts kept coming back to our first day at the school. Could we really do this? Could we raise the money? We needed help. And as it turns out, our tour company owner knew just the right organization to give it. I contacted Erna Grasz, the founder of Asante Africa Foundation, who then provided us with valuable advice. Our project was a success and one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. But it also left me wanting to do more.
After many meetings with Asante Africa, I realized that integrity and sustainability were part of their core values. They didn’t just provide charity, they trained and they worked together with communities and parents to achieve common goals. This was an organization I would be proud to volunteer with.
So why do I care? I believe that we all have a responsibility to help those without a voice – animals and children alike. When you take one look at those sweet faces, how can you not?”
(Chris Pernick with kids in Africa)
After attending her very first Global Strategy Meeting, this is what Chris had to say:
“I am new to Asante Africa and have the luxury of observing. My first impression is that these are dedicated & hard working people with clear missions and huge hearts. You can feel the commitment and pride as each staff member briefs the board on their respective projects. There are video presentations, graphs, charts, objectives, financials, and goals. The conclusions though are very clear. Each project is making a huge difference in the lives of the children in rural East Africa. The team works long hours, the challenges are many, but the mission drives them. I am inspired.“
And in the end, when you see such joy on everyone’s face, you know you have made an impact. Lots more to come this year!