Recently, Lynn students Xiara Del Valle and Faith Thomas were given the opportunity to complete a summer apprenticeship in partnership with the Social Impact Lab and the Ambassador Corps program in Kayonza, Rwanda.
While in Rwanda the students worked alongside the Urugo Women’s Opportunity Center. A center built and operated by women, for women. Urugo provides a safe environment for women to find, learn and harness their skills as well as building on new ones, leading them to create and operate businesses that aid their local communities.
“Our job was always changing, which was something I really enjoyed,”said Del Valle. “We created business and marketing plans, brochures, networking opportunities, website modifications, photographs, videos and the list could really go on. Wherever they needed gaps to be filled, we were there ready to jump in.”
The Ambassador Corps program is designed to provide students with a chance to work alongside a social enterprise or impact investment firm worldwide. Rwanda, Macedonia and select U.S. locations were among the most popular programs.
The summer apprenticeship is a select program open to a handful of students so when Del Valle and Thomas got word of their acceptance they were excited to not only embark on a new journey but to make a difference in a place they soon would learn would make a larger impact on themselves.
“I was able to learn, grow and improve upon a lot of things while being here all while enjoying a new culture, which is something I’ll forever be grateful for,” said Thomas.
Despite having a demanding work schedule, these students were still able to explore and take in the beauty of their surroundings. In their last few days in Rwanda they had the opportunity to visit a school in which they could interact with students and staff.
Throughout their time with the children of Rwanda, Thomas and Del Valle knew they wanted to do everything they could to create a better environment in these countries and the lives of these children.
“I learned that language is so much more than words. Communication is more than what you say. I have seen what the difference in finances can do, if put in the right hands of those who should have it, versus those who believe they have the right to claim it,” said Del Valle.
Although Del Valle and Thomas are still working towards a plan of action for how they will help, they plan to do everything possible to continue their mission of creating a social impact by carrying a passion to give back to Rwanda, a place they now call home.