NGO Spotlight: Asia America Initiative

In summer of 2009, I interned at Asia America Initiative, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. that focuses on people facing severe poverty in conflict ridden sections of the world.

Mr. Albert Santoli, the founding president, has been working towards this goal of helping those who cannot help themselves for over 30 years – as an author, activist, foreign policy advisor, and numerous other roles. During my time with the organization, the main projects were providing materials to schools located in the Philippines that were lacking books, among other necessities such as electricity and running water. The other project that was beginning to grow was the Families for Hope program, which intended to help internally displaced persons in Afghanistan.

I enjoyed my time working at a non-profit organization, as it helped me to realize the different demands faced by an organization that appeals for donations and grants in order to survive. After taking courses within my Masters in Business Leadership at William Penn University, I can truly appreciate the impact that interns and young associates can offer to an organization – particularly when a supervisor is traveling abroad and needs to rely on those that remain within the office.

Asia America Initiative was the organization that first encouraged me to do research on the topic of internally displaced persons. This topic became my main interest in human rights issues, and was the focus of my senior thesis at Saint Mary’s College, where I wrote on the theories facing solutions to internally displaced persons in Liberia, Uganda and Afghanistan. While I have no idea where the future may lead me in regards to work, I know that I will always be grateful for the experience to intern at Asia America Initiative.

If you are interested in learning more about the work of Asia America Initiative, I encourage you to check out their website: http://www.asiaamerica.org/

To view the Families for Hope video that was created by myself and another intern during our time at AAI, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiB_syKxOAY

Or to read my wrap-up of my summer internship there, follow this link: http://www.asiaamerica.org/karolyn.htm

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