Only 2 more days to make a difference!

I think it’s everyone responsibility to help others and give when you can. One of my most rewarding personal experiences has been when I volunteered in Nicaragua, Kenya and Mozambique. However, I’ve witnessed some terrible abuses of donations and some very lazy, or incompetent international volunteers.

Caitlin with Desmond Tutu

My friend, Caitlin Kelley, was similarly frustrated by the volunteer situation while she was in Tanzania. She noticed that there were so many talented, motivated locals who wanted nothing more than to help their people. At the same time, there were numerous international volunteers who had to spend months learning the language and culture before they could do anything.

While these volunteers had the best intentions, they were also taking away volunteer opportunities from these locals who wanted to do good. Caitlin teamed up with her friend, Jafari Msaki, and started Africa Volunteer Corps to help train local leaders and secure volunteer positions with local NGOs.

You can get a set of these beautiful, beaded nesting boxes with a donation of $115 or more!

They have their first group of Tanzanian volunteers and Caitlin is trying to raise $5,000 to pay their living stipend. They only need to raise another $400, but the deadline is FRIDAY! Please visit the fundraising site and give what you can. Make sure to watch the video – she explains the mission beautifully. 

p.s. If you’d like to read the post I wrote about the need for local volunteers, check out her blog!

What Do Gratitude, Kickstarter, and ESL Have in Common?

First off, I want to thank everyone for the supportive comments, emails, texts and calls. I was really starting to doubt if I could make my dream business a reality, and your encouragement really helped me to stay motivated. Since I know how amazing it felt to get words of encouragement from complete strangers, I went ahead and sent a stranger words of encouragement. Someone who I funded on Kickstarter has been having a hard time with her project so I sent her an email telling her not to give up. She said it made her night! It doesn’t take much time to lift someone up and it makes such a big difference.

That said three unrelated people have told me I should use kickstarter to fund my project. If you’re unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it’s a website where you can find out about new, interesting projects and help fund them. You get great prizes for every level of funding. For instance I helped pay for an urban garden in Queens. For $100 I get to take a tour of the garden, a lesson in apartment gardening, and know that I personally helped make Queens more environmentally friendly! When my friend’s movie got into the Berlin film festival Kickstarter helped her raise the $15,000 she needed for plane tickets, promotional material, and last minute editing improvements. I’ve helped fund the publishing of a graphic novel, and someone’s knitting enterprise. It feels awesome to be able to help people achieve their dreams and also feel like a part of these exciting, diverse endeavors. So I definitely need to keep this in mind once I have an exact amount I need to raise.

And my last bit of news is that I got a part time job teaching ESL! I used to be an ESL teacher before my last job, and I always loved it. You get to learn about so many cultures without even leaving your city. I figured taking on a part time job would help me feel more financially stable, so I won’t be as scared of taking big risks with BeddyBye. Also, just getting out of the apartment and being productive makes me feel more motived and competent!