Hi everyone! My name is Irene Ameena and I am a junior at the University of Texas at Austin studying Human Dimensions of Organizations and Plan II Honors, hoping to attend law school and work within civil rights law, education, and nonprofit work. This spring, I am hoping to volunteer with the 100% volunteer-based nonprofit organization Humanity First through their "Education for Life" campaign" in Chiapas, Mexico. Humanity First Mexico, Humanity First International (in London) and Humanity First Texas (at UT Austin) will all work together to do manual work on classrooms and schools in Mexico.
I had the amazing opportunity to volunteer with HF in Guatemala twice: once in 2016, and once in 2018. Most charities will tell you they're nonprofit, but after years of working with Humanity First I know that it is 100% run by volunteers who devote time, energy, and out-of-pocket expenses to bettering the lives of others. It's a grassroots organization and the people who work with it are all so incredibly compassionate and devoted to their causes.
This spring break, we will be primarily working on rebuilding and repairing classrooms in an elementary school. This will include painting the classrooms and exterior, installing laminated posters, donating and organizing books, and shelving school supplies/boards.
Volunteering abroad is a loaded phrase and concept, and I am proud that Humanity First is an organization that works through and past the qualms I had about it. HF is committed to avoiding voluntourism, stereotype perpetuation, and white privilege/supremacy within the framework of international service. We try to achieve those goals by working for what the community asks for and needs from us and accepting that our week of work is nothing compared to the tireless lifelong commitment that members of HF Mexico and many, many, many other people make to the goals that we work towards during our trip. We have discussions, reflections, and honest approaches towards and about our impact, our limitations, and our mistakes. Our trip is not "saving" the Mexican kids or schools. It is a cultural exchange meant to generate knowledge and respect about other ways of being while giving a week of our time and energy to the labor it takes to helping repair a school.
I am hoping to raise $800 by March 10th, 2020, to donate towards the school we will be working on - this donation is required for all volunteers to be able to attend. 100% of the donations will go towards this school. At the time of this post, HF Mexico is still doing groundwork to find which school can use our help the most and the most efficiently, but I will add the name of the school as soon as I know. A donation of ANY amount helps - that includes a donation of your time by sharing this fundraiser with your friends and family. Thank you so much for your support.