Summer '09: In S. Africa with students from Masi
Dear Open Doors Supporter,
Almost 5 years ago to the day, I was about to board a plane in Boston to fly to South Africa where I would be spending the summer volunteering with an organization called WorldTeach. It was my first stint abroad on my own and I was both very excited and a little nervous about what was in store. Little did I know that those upcoming months would serve as one of the most transformative summers of my life.
While teaching in the impoverished communities of Masiphumelele and Ocean View that summer, I not only met other volunteers who are now my lifelong friends but I also got to work with talented students and discuss their career hopes and dreams. Through conversations with these students, it became apparent that their limited finances posed a significant hurdle to their wish to further their education beyond secondary school. It was result of these conversations that the Open Doors Foundation was eventually born.
5 years later, I am excited to report that I will be heading back to Cape Town, South Africa once again. I have been working for the last several months in the nearby country of Lesotho with a global health organization. While my work here in Lesotho has had a different focus than my WorldTeach experience, there is one wonderful similarity: getting to meet inspiring individuals who are dedicated and eager to make a positive difference in their lives and the lives of those around them.
My upcoming trip to Cape Town will be a whirlwind 3-day visit and I am excited for all that is in store! I am planning to meet with some of our Open Doors scholars to check in, hear about their experiences at university, and discuss if there are additional ways in which Open Doors can further support them. I also can't wait to meet with Open Doors' local partners on the ground and say a big thank you. These partners have been vital in identifying promising students and facilitating the scholarship application process. Last, but certainly not least, the new batch of WorldTeach volunteers will have just arrived in South Africa and I am excited to meet them, share stories from my own WorldTeach experience, and introduce them to Open Doors and ways in which they can get involved.
As my trip draws closer, I have spent much time reminiscing about my first visit to South Africa back in 2009. With your loyal support, it is really incredible to think about how much we have accomplished together in the years since then. Thanks to your generosity, we have been able to support 15 impressive South African students in their pursuit of a tertiary education. It is a phenomenal achievement and we cannot thank you enough!