Jul 27, 2009
Write-up about Internship: Karolyn Wojtowicz
When I started my internship at Asia America Initiative, I had no idea what to expect. I did not know the current situation in the Philippines, where the majority of AAI’s programs exist. I did not know how a non-profit international organization worked and achieved its goals in an economic recession. And I did not think that another intern and I would be starting a program in Afghanistan on our own during our first two weeks of being at AAI.
The process of creating Families for Hope began with researching information about the BiBi Mahroow and Afshar camps located near Kabul. Pictures and stories of families located there were collected by Marzia Meena, who leads MRSDO, an organization in Afghanistan that AAI occasionally partners with. Reading the stories of the people who are living in tents in the middle of winter, not getting enough food, and having no health care cried out to me as a dire plea for help.
The struggles of the families became more evident as the photos were looked over to create a one page handout and a powerpoint presentation. The powerpoint presentation led to the idea of a promotional video that would share the stories of the families on its own. The video begins with “Imagine - you've lost everything. You're a single mother, heading a household of twelve, including your sister and cousins… Then the Taliban came.” The entire video, located on this link, was created by Clare and I – we chose the images, wrote the script, recorded, compiled, and placed it on youtube. The families in Afghanistan don’t need much to survive and the hope is that with AAI’s Families for Hope program, these families will receive the food, water, shelter, health care, and education that they need.
As I near the end of my internship with Asia America Initiative, I can say this about my summer: I had an internship in Washington D.C. where I worked with an organization doing international humanitarian work; I worked directly with leaders, founders, and presidents of organizations and companies around the world; learned about the dire situation in the Philippines - where even the United Nations is no longer because it is deemed an unsafe area; learned the dedication that is required to successfully run an international non-profit organization; and another intern and I created a program and advertising tools on our own within two weeks that could help thousands of people in a country halfway around the world. What did you do with your summer?