As our team prepares to travel to Africa this week, many of us have been asked some form of the question: “Why are you going?”
On a practical level, it’s a different reason for each of us. Some of us are engineers, whose participation will help our team further develop our solar program. Others are heads of new projects, including our girls’ empowerment program and our soon-to-be-launched water project. Some of us are creatives, whose participation helps communicate our story to our supporters.
On a deeper level, we are all going to Africa for the same reason. We are all going because we believe in the work of All We Are. We understand the power of education and have a deep desire to help schools improve attendance and student performance. We are going to Africa because we are passionate about helping enable the youth to shape the future of their communities.
As a nonprofit dedicated to sustainability and empowering local communities, it’s vital to us that our supporters understand that we are going into these communities for the right reasons. All too often we see groups travel to developing areas of the world with their own agendas and ideas for how development should occur. Sometimes, despite noble intentions, these endeavors can do more harm than good. It is our utmost priority to ensure that this is not the case for All We Are. So, here’s why we go to Africa:
We don’t go to Africa to take selfies with people who are less fortunate than us, to compromise their dignity just to generate a few more Instagram likes.
We go to build relationships with the resilient, innovative and talented people who desire to better their communities through sustainable development.
We don’t go to Africa to shout our ideas at the people we believe need our help, or to force western standards of living upon them without a second thought.
We go to listen. To open our ears to the needs of community members who understand their situation much better than we ever could from the outside looking in. We go to Africa to listen to their stories, their struggles and their ideas.
We don’t go to Africa to take over, to impose, or to undermine the authority of community leaders.
We go to partner with them. To bolster their schools and communities, in ways that make a tangible difference in the lives of students and families.
We don’t go to Africa to do a project on our own terms and then head home, feeling good about our accomplishments and ready to get on with our lives.
We go to help build sustainable change, to ignite hope in schools, which reverberates into families and echoes across communities. We go because the future of these schools and communities is in the hands of the bright, capable people of Africa. We go because giving them ownership over their projects and equipping them to care for them is the most effective way to ensure sustainability over the long-term.
And that’s our reason. That’s what unites this motley assortment of folks spread out all over the country—what lights us up and thrills us and makes us believe traveling across the world is a worthy endeavor.
We hope you follow our trip via email and social media. If you’d like to be put on our email update list, Kampala in Our Shoes, please email email@example.com. Follow @awanonprofit and #AWAtakesAF on Instagram to stay up to date on our daily activities abroad. We are excited to share our updates with you and let you know how your support is impacting lives in Africa!