Where are our volunteers now?

September 28, 2018

More than ten years ago, back in 2005, GHEI organized its first ever Summer Serve and Learn session programs. We have been lucky enough to host over 200 volunteers helping us in sessions about topics such as malaria prevention, girls’ education, and community health.

 

Of course, GHEI has always been incredibly grateful for the work the volunteers have done and the positive impact they have on our communities. But how do our volunteer alumni look back on their Summer Serve and Learn experience? Four volunteers share their experiences and tell us about what they are doing now, and how working with GHEI for a summer helped them get there.

 

 

Sidra Khalid | Girls' Empowerment Camp 2012

What do you do now?

 

I recently graduated from Emory University with a Masters in Development Practice (MDP). I will be heading out to Kyrgyzstan working on a research project related to boys puberty as part of a fellowship with Save the Children. 

 

How did GHEI affect your career path?

 

I had always been interested in international development and particularly working on programs and issues related to gender equality and women and girls. So when I learned about GHEI during undergrad, I thought it would be a great way to gain more international exposure and get a feel for what it is like working in the development sector. The experience was wonderful and solidified my career choice. Even though the session was only 16 days, I had a great learning experience and realized that this is the kind of work and the career path I want to pursue. 

 

What is something you’d like to share with future volunteers?
 

I volunteered with GHEI during the summer between my junior and senior year of college. My parents were pretty conservative about letting their daughter travel alone halfway across the world in a rural village. I think what made them feel better and eventually allowed them to agree to let me volunteer was the fact that the SSL sessions are short-term. Though it could be nicer to be a little bit longer, I think if you are interested in getting a taste of what development work and being in the field feels like, this would be a good opportunity to get that exposure while still being able to work on something substantial.

I would also encourage future volunteers to make the most of their time in Humjibre when they arrive - there is a lot of downtime between sessions, but that doesn't mean you have to just stay in your room. Go out and explore! Talk to the GHEI staff and ask if you can shadow them for the day. Everyone in Humjibre is so warm and welcoming, take advantage of every day!


Kayla Woolley | Community Health Evaluation 2017

 

What do you do now?

 

I am currently working on getting my bachelors in Dietetics with a minor in International Development. 

 

How did GHEI affect your career path?


Because of my experience with GHEI, I have decided to pursue a career in helping with malnutrition throughout the world. 

 

What is something you’d like to share with future volunteers?


To have fun with it! And if it's something that intrigues you, keep your connections strong!

 

Jennifer Lauren | Girls' Empowerment Camp 2009

 

 What do you do now?

 

I work as a senior communications and development consultant to NGOs, social enterprises, nonprofits, and universities.  

 

How did GHEI affect your career path?

 

It was pivotal.  As an educator, designing, implementing (and refining) our workshops with my co-fellows on-the-ground in Humjibre was enlightening.  The experience was completely immersive.  Engaging with the community, families and girl students each day taught us a lot about developing a learning program that was both flexible and relevant.  I miss it and hope to go back someday! 

 

What is something you’d like to share with future volunteers?

 

That Humjibre and GHEI is one of a kind!  GHEI exemplifies a participatory approach to development-fellows work in and with the community.  For those interested in a career in international development or service, this is a great start, or great refresher-in what service is all about.  Thank you GHEI!
 

Sonia Chiamaka Okorie | Community Health Evaluation 2015

 

What do you do now?

 

I am now a registered nurse, studying to be a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner at the University of Pennsylvania.

How did GHEI affect your career path?

 

When I participated in SSL, I has just transferred into nursing school. I was very uncertain of what nursing looked like, or even what "health" meant. I sought GHEI to get more insight into public health, especially in a sister African country (I’m from Nigeria!). I was also funded by Boston College to do an independent research project focused on pregnant women and their perception of malaria. GHEI was an amazing opportunity to grow academically and personally. It fueled my love for public health and desire to work for and with women. 

What is something you’d like to share with future volunteers? 

 

My advice - get as much as you can out of the experience! Get to know the incredible community health workers, absorb all you can about the culture, take what you've learned back to school, and share it with more people. 


Have these experiences sparked your interest? We are now recruiting for our Summer Serve and Learn 2019 Volunteer Programs. For more information about our volunteer programs, click here.

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