Building Bridges

I try to imagine my role as an advocate for White Orange Youth (WOY) and St. Timothy’s School as a bridge. This has been a very strong metaphor for the work I am doing and the support I am asking from all of you.

It has been difficult to be so far away from Tanzania in the months before I leave. After just one month of fundraising for our projects, my heart and spirit are already on their way to White Orange Youth and St. Timothy’s School in Moshi. However, there is still a lot of work to do here in New Jersey/New York/Boston/Ann Arbor/Philadelphia/wherever you might find me talking about these organizations.

In the many conversations I have had about the people and projects in Moshi, there is one thing I hope I have made clear: none of these projects were started by me. They are projects created and developed by the people of Moshi, people who have decided what they want to do for their own communities. My goal is to advocate so that you may attribute the power of these initiatives to the people that are 7,530 miles and an 18+ hour flight away.

My role is with you – it is to help them fund these initiatives, projects which will help them become more economically independent, provide food for the community, and bring children closer to their schools. My role is to bridge your motivation to help, your determination to learn, and your reasons for donating into the projects across the ocean.

As I am fundraising, I am learning about the people working in these organizations through email, Skype, and stories from others who have worked with them. Toby, the Global Advocate who was in Moshi at St. Timothy’s School before me, recently sent me some of the stories from the White Orange Youth peer educators he met while he was there. I am the first Global Advocate to officially work with White Orange Youth, but since they are located in the same town as St. Timothy’s School, Toby was able to get to know them as well!

Gorday Yesaya is a White Orange Youth peer educator from Mbea, Tanzania. I was struck by the opening sentence of his story: “I can do something…if others can do the same, maybe after some time in the future, the community will change.” What this sentence inspires in me is: I am enough. I can create change and I can inspire others to do so as well. If one person can, we all can.

Gorday has also found the concept of a “bridge” to be very inspiring. He has learned that when setting a goal, you should imagine your goal to be on the other side of a river. In order to reach the goal on the other side, you must take steps to build your bridge, so that every day you get closer to the other side of the river.

This metaphor guides Gorday in his career as a volunteer in multiple organizations as well as his journey to obtaining a dual degree in micro-finance and enterprise development. Ultimately, his goal is to “organize the poor to identify the opportunity in their community and to lead them to fight against poverty.”WOY outside session

Since receiving training with White Orange Youth, Gorday has participated in outreach initiatives in many locations, and has been able to access a broader network in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. He is now recruiting inspired youth to be a part of the peer education program.

Gorday has inspired me to look at our fundraising goal in this way as well. Every step closer to $20,000 is one step closer to finishing the bridge that will bring us to WOY and St. Tim’s, and to bring their projects to life.

Learn more and donate here.

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