The Ota staff took a nice break after our successful summer program, but now we are in the midst of preparing for our FIFTH program this winter. As always, we have some exciting updates to share!
I would like to introduce you all to Allison Warren, a student from West Virginia University who volunteered with Ota in June as part of a university service-learning trip run by Ota’s sponsor, Amizade. Shortly after Allison’s return to America this summer, I began talking with her about her experience in Kayanga, and it became clear that she has a passion for education that fits with the needs and goals of Ota. Allison has now joined our team as a year-round volunteer, and with the help of a generous volunteer fellowship from the All People Be Happy foundation, she will be returning to Kayanga to help with our winter program. After adding English instruction to our curriculum in June with the help of Amizade volunteers, it is critically important to have a native speaker returning to Kayanga in December to monitor the success of our program’s newest component.
I will write more in another update about how Allison is helping Ota to expand its English programming, but for now I want to give her a chance to introduce herself in her own words:
My name is Allison Warren and I am a student at West Virginia University. I will graduate with a B.A. in political science and women’s and gender studies in May 2016. My interests in global equity and development brought me to Kayanga, Tanzania during the summer of 2015, where I first encountered and contributed to The Ota Initiative.
I am originally from California, but have moved numerous times throughout my life. In addition to WVU and Kayanga, I also studied in Germany for two years, in The Netherlands for two years, and briefly in Greece and the Czech Republic. While attending middle-school in The Netherlands, I served as a teaching assistant in a special needs pre-school class. I worked with students on speech development, sign language, and creative thinking. From this experience, I learned tremendous patience as well as the profound impact of a strong student-teacher relationship.
I returned to the United States for high school, where I first started to become interested in politics. I joined Model U.N. and Youth and Government, for which I gave numerous speeches at national and international conferences. Upon going to college, I was drawn to studying political science and becoming involved in government. During the summer of 2013, I moved to Philadelphia to work for PA State Representative Brian Sims. While working for Rep. Sims, I conducted constituent services, organized and hosted weekly community outreach events, and served as a liaison with PA State Department agencies.
Upon graduation, I hope to work in education or international development in some capacity. My goal is to either become a Fulbright Scholar and work as an English Teaching Assistant or become a Peace Corps volunteer. Whatever the future holds beyond that, all I want is a career in which I help others.
Please join me in welcoming Allison to the Ota team! I look forward to writing you all more updates in the future about the wonderful contributions she is making to our program. I would also like to thank the All People Be Happy foundation for its continued support of Ota and its help in defraying Allison’s volunteer costs. Partners like All People Be Happy help us keep our administrative expenses low, but we will still require funds to cover the costs of our winter program. If you can, please consider making a tax-deductible donation (form at bottom of page) to continue providing Kayanga’s children with quality arts, science, and English programming.
Many thanks and best wishes,
The Ota Initiative