Today, I thought I’d take the time to talk about volunteering. I’ve always taught my own children and those I’ve encountered over the years that everyone has something that they can give. Let’s face it, not everyone is destined to become a world leader or the director of an NGO. Some of us, rather, most of us are only able to give a little of our time or resources. But, that time adds up to produce great results. Never feel like you aren’t doing enough or giving enough. The people who will benefit from your labor will always feel it was just enough; after all, without you, the job may not have been able to be completed.
Before founding MamaAfrika.com, I held a couple of positions in non-profit organizations in which I worked with volunteers. I know first-hand how important they are and how much they sincerely care about others. I’ve always respected the spirit of volunteerism.
Since the beginning, Mama Afrika has been a one-woman show. I’ve had help along the way, thanks to God and the generous spirit of others I’ve crossed paths with. But, all in all, it’s just been me, Mama.
I’ve come to the point now that I’d be happy to welcome the volunteer spirit to help move Mama’s vision to a whole new level. Do you think you are up for the challenge? Do you love Africa? Do you want to make a concrete mark on the world in a way that is more tangible than sending in a check to an organization that you only know through their advertising campaign? Would you like to help spread the word about fair and ethical trade? Maybe you only have an hour a month to give and would like to sit and read books to kids or tell them a few African fables.
I’d like to engage you, wherever you are and whatever you are most interested in. I have always had a very large vision for Mama’s endeavors and now is the time to step it up and increase the ability to do good through numbers… would you like to be one of the people who gets it all off of the ground?
Mama is based on these three ideas: SHOP, HELP and LEARN. Maybe you could arrange for a sale at your church, club or just with a small group of friends over a cup of South African tea. Perhaps you’d like to do a fundraiser to help buy school uniforms for young girls in Ghana. Or, you might want to contact your child’s teacher and arrange to visit their classroom to teach a little about Africa.
Mama will supply the information needed. You’ll know exactly how and whom you are helping and the African families that we partner with will get another set of hands, another brain, another spirit which is working to help them build a better life.
It might sound intimidating or overwhelming. The list of problems that Africans face is long and even the most experienced or talented people I know feel overwhelmed by the issues sometimes. But, my favorite word is perspective; those of you who know me, have certainly heard me say it before. Allow me to offer you an alternate perspective on the issue: All marathons are run one step at a time. You have talents or gifts that most of us don’t have. You are able to use them in one way or another to benefit African women. I’m sure of it.
And here is the proof: Years ago, I was contacted by a 10 year old girl in Montreal. She had visited MamaAfrika.com and wanted to know what one kid could do to help. So, I sent her a short list of things that were do-able even at her age. Some months later, I heard from her again. She had (with her mother’s help) thrown a fabulous pajama party and charged her friends an entrance fee. The result was that she was able to send a donation to Africa with the specific request that it be used to improve the lives of children in some way. The donation wasn’t a large one; but it came from those children’s pure hearts! Years later she wrote again to tell me that she raised funds through bake sales and other means that allowed her to work with a member of her church who had contacts in Africa… enough to fully fund a water well for a village in East Africa!
Start small; dream big and you can and will be part of what Mama calls “the ones”… the ones that extend themselves, the ones that love others even when they don’t know their names, the ones that are willing to try, the ones that know that the ocean is made up of many single drops of water.
If you’d are interested, contact me and I can:
• Help you set up a sale of our goods at your home, work, school, church or other organization
• Give you some African fables that you can read to a group of kids. Children who love Africa will remember it when they are adults.
• Furnish you with a letter that you can take to your local zoo the next time you visit with your family to tell them you think that they should carry fair or ethically traded goods in their gift shop; instead of “Made in China” gifts. (It only takes 2 minutes!)
• Give you information to help you speak at your church or organization about how ethical trade helps the world’s poor.
• Discuss other ways that you can contribute your time to help African women and children.