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How High School Students in the U.S Raised Over 6000$ To Help Bring Happiness to Children In Kenya

By: Mohit Kosuru – NECF Virtual Intern


On March 1st, we officially completed NECF's virtual internship program, which helped support NECF's Playgrounds in Prison initiative and Nancy's Gardens. Our work during the internship will help build playgrounds for children living in prison and to educate and start kitchen garden projects in schools and communities. Students across the U.S. applied for this virtual internship, and 15 students were accepted to join the internship.


Why was the Internship Started?

Amisha Wadhwa, a current student at UC Berkeley, initiated and developed NECF's Youth Ambassador Program with Shital Patel, a NECF board member, and successfully marketed the program worldwide to over 10,000 youth.


"With a small team, the NECF manages to do incredible work helping children through its 3 projects: Nancy's Gardens, Lights for Learning, and Nancy's Playgrounds," Patel said. "We chose to develop the internship program as a way to expand our mission and reach out to today's youth, allowing them to gain experience doing meaningful work and feel part of something bigger than themselves."


How the Internship Worked

In our intern's applications, we could choose what we wanted to work on, designing a beautiful infographic or conducting valuable research. After the selections were made, students were split into their sections; for example, I chose to research skills developed through play and methods on making the playground safe for children of all ages. For the people who conducted research, their responsibility was to pass on that research to their tag-team design partner, who would then design an informational graphic to help educate people and program beneficiaries.


How Being an Intern Helped Me:

Personally, I applied to this program to primarily conduct social work for children in need. One of my goals in life is to build English-learning schools in underfunded villages in my home country: India. I thought that one way I could gain some knowledge is through applying for this program, as it helps me gain research skills on a topic similar to my goal. Also, I was able to gain a new network with students across the U.S. who are interested in the same goal. I feel honored to be part of this program as it provided me with the necessary education to one day possibly achieve my goal!



How Interns Raised Money

Another responsibility for us interns was to reach a fundraising goal of $350 each. One intern, Amulya Chirumamilla, blew past that goal with a whopping $1,810 raised. She believes that being active in your community is a huge bonus when it comes to fundraising!


"I just shared information regarding NECF and the playgrounds project in my community in-person and over text," Chirumamilla said. "Being active in your community goes a long way!"


Another one of my fellow interns, Arya Srivastava, used virtual communication services, like Zoom, to explain why people should donate to the cause. It worked perfectly, as she was able to reach her fundraising goal from that meeting alone!


"In the zoom meeting, I basically showed them how long NECF has been running for, all that they've accomplished so far, and the background of the gardening projects since that was my project," Srivastava said. "And then I opened the floor for everyone to ask whatever questions they had!"


Results:

Overall, the program raised over $6000, which will allow NECF to install two playgrounds and several garden projects throughout Kenya, this is a tremendous achievement by the interns.


"While Covid restrictions in Kenya continue to cause some challenges for project implementation this year, we are committed to continuing our mission, and the interns' efforts will play a significant role," Patel said. "Additionally, the research and design projects that the interns undertook will serve as a wonderful educational resource that we will use to educate others and persuade greater support."


Future of the Internship Program:

With the internship over, interested students wondered if the NECF would run similar programs in the future.


"It has been refreshing to see the enthusiasm and skill that the interns displayed in achieving the program requirements. We hope to do it again in the future, although there is no set date yet," Patel said. "We encourage anyone living in Kenya or abroad to reach out to us should they wish to support the NECF."


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