Kamra Abdul-Hakim, an activist and sophomore at Arizona State University (Go Sun Devils!) was selected out of 1,500 students to intern in South Africa and Zambia. She was able to go overseas thanks to a ONE & Chegg For Good internship. Read about her life changing trip in her journal below.
July 16, 2012, Atlanta, GA
Where do I even begin? As I sit in the Atlanta airport, I realize that once I am on that plane, there’s no turning back, no second guesses, no hesitation -- just DOING. I am going to Africa to see and experience things that I was sure were impossible before. I’m so scared, honored, and bewildered by what is before me but if I never try, I will never know. So, here’s to trying; here’s to the kids that follow their dreams.
July 16, 2012, Johannesburg, South Africa
Early this morning, I boarded a bus with a team of seven fellow students from across the U.S. who were selected for this amazing trip hosted by ONE and Chegg for Good. First, we visited the Kliptown township. We met a man named Thulani Madondo, who founded the Kliptown Youth Program in 2007. And WOW, meeting this man changed my life. He grew up in Kliptown in a small shack with seven siblings! He explained that the only way for the youth of Kliptown to find hope is to find a solid foundation in education. About 400 students go through this program at a time and they are provided with hot meals, games, activities and afterschool tutoring. The staff at KYP has so much heart and their smiles give me hope that one day, all 10,000 children in Kliptown will have this opportunity. This program has brought light to many who are still living in unbearable conditions.
Photo: Thulani Madondo explaining his awesome program in Kliptown. (Chegg for Good and ONE Team)
July 17, 2012, Johannesburg, South Africa
This morning we had the privilege of visiting the Themba Lethu "Hope" Clinic at the Helen Joseph Hospital. This program is funded under PEPFAR and has been successfully running for the past 11 years. Even though this program is saving lives and progressing at a rapid pace, they’re at risk of a major budget cut from PEPFAR.
Not only were we exposed to the ins and outs of the entire clinic, we were also privileged enough to meet with HIV/AIDS and TB victims who were willing to share their stories. Before meeting the patients, I had no idea what to expect, but I have never met a group of individuals with so much soul and heart. One of the women commented, "It’s not HIV that kills people, it’s fear that does."
July 18, 2012, Lusaka, Zambia
I wish I could have physically taken you all to the places I visited today for I have met and spoken with children who have completely changed my life. Seriously.
We visited a children’s day care center called Little Star in the township of Diepsloot, outside of Johannesburg. The South African people of Diepsloot have tried their best to survive in communities under poverty stricken conditions. Working with the children at Little Star was momentous. Even though it was our job to give to them, they were giving to us. We sang songs, danced, took pictures and gave them yummy snacks to eat! These kids will be in my heart forever. After our remarkable visits, we literally ran to the bus so we wouldn’t miss our flight to Lusaka, Zambia! This is beautiful, life is beautiful and I will continue to be inspired...will you?
Photo: How adorable are these kids?! (Chegg for Good and ONE Team)
July 19, 2012, Lusaka Zambia
Tonight, we are packing, as our trip is coming to a very devastating end. I never want to leave this continent. The people here have my heart.
I am going to be the voice for those who cannot speak. Meeting with people who ask me to go back to the U.S. and talk to my congressmen, world leaders and celebrities motivates me even more so! I am not going to leave these people here hopeless. I am going to keep my promise and one day, when I come back, I am going to tell these people what I have been doing in the U.S. to make sure we are doing everything we can to change their lives. Because global poverty and global injustices aren’t just "African" issues, they’re American issues and humanity issues. Humanity started in Africa, and I am sure we will finish there, so we need to take care of African people. We need to take care of "our" people.