Written by: Laura Barker, HHI volunteer
As a volunteer for HHI, I have been working on a project to bring some personal stories to the website. I’m talking to donors, HHI trainers, and participants in order to learn about their experiences with the organization and how these experiences have helped them grow as caretakers and as women. Each of these women comes to HHI with a distinct perspective and world view and with a lifetime of culturally specific experiences—a donor from California, a master trainer from southern India, a mother from the slums of Uganda. Yet each of these women is now connected through their shared experience with Hands to Hearts. Certainly HHI has touched each of them in a different way, but it has made a significant impression on each one.
As for me, I’m new to HHI and have yet to see the program in action. But I have been fortunate enough to begin the process of learning more about this influential organization. I know from my own travel experiences in Central America and Africa that programs focused on educating the local community often leave the most lasting effects. Education—unlike tools, water pumps, or money—once given, cannot be taken away. Those who receive it not only get to use what they learn for their own benefit, but also become teachers themselves, passing along their new-found knowledge to their friends and children. In a place where material wealth is scarce and promises of help are frequently left unfulfilled, the gift of education is precious.
As an American, I certainly value my education, but am I really aware of how precious it is? The HHI participants in Uganda were saying that the education they received would change their lives forever—an extremely powerful statement. I may have more total education than the Ugandan women, but I’m not sure that any one part of my education has changed my life as profoundly as it did theirs. Imparting that type of education—the type that changes the way you think and the way you perceive the world around you—is the most valuable resource an organization can provide. I look forward to learning more about the way HHI touches its participants, its trainers, and its donors and to sharing these stories with the HHI community.
Stay tuned and share in the richness of the full version of each of these women’s stories in a feature called “Voices from the Field”.