Anita was poised to intern with FOA during her long vacation since she saw it as the perfect opportunity to help children and youth living in extreme poverty, a situation she knew all too well about. This was her chance to give-back to her community.
Embarking on this internship at Future of Africa as a first year student and Cartier scholar from Ashesi University, felt like a natural progression of my passion for fostering sustainable change and my unwavering commitment to contributing to improving communities. My name is Anita Efiba Azafoe, and I am honored to have stepped into the role of program facilitator, where I navigated the challenging paths of sustainable growth and positive change among street residents. Future of Africa (FOA) empowers children living in street conditions to alter the course of their lives by offering avenues for them to exit street life, embark on transformative paths, and emerge as agents of positive transformation.
During my internship at Future of Africa, I was assigned the specific objective of leading street outreach, monitoring, reporting, and planning activities based on a month's theme. These activities aimed to foster interactions with street residents, understand their needs, educate them on essential life skills, and introduce them to potential opportunities. My responsibilities as a program facilitator intern at FOA reflected the organization's values and aspirations. By engaging with these children and providing them with education, skills, and hope, I worked towards manifesting FOA's mission of giving back to society and creating a space for charity that truly transforms lives. Engaging in the outreach program was a transformative experience that honed my communication and listening skills while fostering relationships with children from diverse backgrounds. I engaged in various activities, including interactive games, health and hygiene sections, and basic etiquette. These activities empowered the children with knowledge, life skills, and a sense of belonging, aiming to foster positive change and personal growth.
While engaging with street children, I encountered several challenges requiring thoughtful navigation. Language barriers often posed difficulties in effective communication, but I addressed this by using simple gestures, ensuring the children could comprehend and actively participate. Additionally, gaining the children's and their communities' trust was a crucial hurdle, which I overcame by consistently showing empathy, genuine interest, and reliability in my interactions. Flexibility was essential when unexpected situations arose during the activities, prompting me to adapt and modify plans on the spot. By demonstrating adaptability, cultural sensitivity, and a steadfast commitment to the children's well-being, I navigated these challenges and created meaningful interactions that contributed to the program's success.
Throughout my internship, I was deeply moved by heartwarming and impactful moments that are etched into my memory. One such instance was observing the remarkable adaptability of the children as they absorbed and embraced the lessons and interactions we shared. Witnessing their genuine enthusiasm to learn, their gradual confidence growth, and the spark of curiosity in their eyes left an indelible mark on me. Equally touching was the unwavering love and care the FOA staff exhibited towards the children and me. Their dedication, guidance, and genuine concern resonated with me, reaffirming the organization's commitment to fostering positive change in the lives of these children.
If I had to describe my internship experience in one word, it would be transformative.
My internship at FOA has been a transformative journey, allowing me to acquire and enhance diverse skills. Working within a collaborative team taught me the value of effective teamwork, as I learned to leverage the strengths of each team member and contribute towards common goals. Through interactions with street children, I honed my communication skills by adapting my approach to different audiences and effectively conveying ideas. As I led street outreach activities, I developed leadership skills by orchestrating events, guiding participants, and assuming responsibility for outcomes. Additionally, encountering unexpected challenges during these activities nurtured my problem-solving and decision-making skills. I learned to think on my feet and make informed choices to ensure smooth execution. This internship has provided me with a holistic growth experience, equipping me with skills that extended beyond my role and into various facets of life and work.
My internship experience at FOA has also ignited a steadfast passion within me to continue making a positive difference in the lives of others. The moments of transformation and the heartwarming connections I have forged with the street children have reaffirmed my belief in the profound impact that empathy, education, and dedicated effort can bring. I am inspired to channel the skills and insights I have gained toward creating more opportunities for growth, empowerment, and positive change in the lives of those who need it most. This experience has fueled a lifelong commitment to contributing meaningfully to society and nurturing a brighter, more equitable future for all.
[Written by Anita Efiba Azafoe]