Once upon a time, way back in freshman year, I thought that I would never work for an NGO. They're too radical, I thought, too ineffective. They just sit there and make a raucous but aren't productive. Oh, how wrong I was. First I dabbled in the NGO scene in Spain, where I learned not only that the relaxed-work-environment-in-Europe had some truth to it, but that NGOs actually have an impact. My use to them was limited, by I learned many things.
NGO work in the States is a little more intense. My job description is much more varied than it was before, ranging from the more generic duties of answering phones and stuffing envelopes to the varied tasks of grant research and event planning, with a little graphic design and essay-contest coordination thrown in. But what is continually striking to me is the sense of purpose that infuses every action taken in the office. There's a difference between making noise and raising awareness, and a lot of the potential effectiveness is hampered by a lack of money. But that doesn't hinder NGOs from being productive. All the projects we undertake have an ultimate objective of helping people. My stuffing envelopes for a fundraising campaign is going to bring in the capital needed for a project that will end up benefitting the poorest of the poor. Focusing on grant research will help us sponsor an event that could potentially bring someone to the USA to speak on a pressing issue. Awareness and funds will be raised, and we can help whole communities develop a sustainable, higher quality life style, which is very fulfilling for everyone involved.
Tune in next week for: Phone Mishaps and The Balancing Act