I was inspired by all of the information I learned yesterday about Ashoka’s vision, its Fellows, and the changes that the Ashoka Fellows have made to the systems in their respective communities. It is clear that the Ashoka Fellows care a great deal about improving their communities and are creating new and innovative ways to solve the most pressing social problems. What was even more clear was how successful the Fellows have been at creating these systemic changes throughout the spectrum of sectors and how creative they were in connecting their own work to the work of other Fellows to bring about more good. I have a great respect for Ashoka’s belief that solutions to local problems can and should come from the local people. I believe that the only people that can truly understand issues in society, and the best ways to combat these issues, are the people who experience them firsthand, and I am pleased to be interning with an organization whose values and understandings are close to my own.
What makes Ashoka unique from the other organizations that I have encountered is its commitment to utilizing the business model to ensure the quality and impact of changes that the Ashoka Fellows make. I am convinced that this is what makes Ashoka so successful and what allows it to innovate, approach new topics and issues, and challenge current conceptions of what can and cannot be done.
I can’t wait to start my work in the nascent Empathy Movement. I firmly believe that empathy is a necessary quality to have when addressing social problems because it reminds you that you are working with people with lives, feelings, goals, futures and histories, rather than just numbers that need to be fixed. After learning more about the Ashoka Fellows and the research that Ashoka has done, it seems that Ashoka values empathy in this capacity which is the reason that it has created the Empathy Movement. I foresee the Empathy Movement as making a deep impact across the sectors, particularly in education, and I am hoping to bring my own creative style, enterprise and tenacity to the work required to encourage this new movement.
I also see that my summer internship at Ashoka is incredible learning opportunity. Not only will I be able to learn how an organization of this capacity helps its Fellows to make change, but will also give me a different perspective on Egypt than I would have had if I had been a traveler or a student. I am certain that over the course of my internship, I will learn a great deal about Ashoka, the most pressing social issues in the Middle East, and the goals of Egyptians, and all the other Changemakers throughout the Arab World, who seek to improve the lives of the marginalized members of their communities.