My relationship with Crossing Thresholds began with a phone call from a person I did not know, asking if I would like to work with them. The first few months my focus was simply numbers, money in, money out, which to be honest has always been my comfort zone. In the numbers world, one plus one will always equal two, life is organized and predictable.
When I was 18 years old, I went on a mission trip to Zambia, Africa with my college. Upon my return, I posted a picture to my Facebook page of me and some children from one of the orphanages. As kind and loving messages flooded my post I came across a message from an individual I did not know well. The comment was a link to an article about “Volunteerism and the White Savior Complex.” I clicked the link, read the article, and sat with my own thoughts for a minute or two.
Education is the key to a brighter future as it opens an individual to a world of limitless opportunities. In Kenya, high school education is especially important as it acts as a stepping stone to university education where individuals can specialize in their desired goals.
However, high school education is expensive and not affordable to many families in the Kibera Slum. As a result, many young people are cut off from their dreams and unable to connect to their destiny.
My name is Michelle Mwema, and I am one of the lucky ones. By good fortune, I connected with a reliable sponsor called Crossing Thresholds. They have allowed less fortunate young women like me to fulfill the dream of higher education. Already, my high school education has helped me improve my communication skills and extend my interaction with other students from all over Kenya.
My heartfelt gratitude to Crossing Thresholds for supporting my education. I can now see clearly a bright future ahead of me.
May God bless you.
Crossing Thresholds Student
My name is Kean Ayub. I graduated from Facing the Future Primary School a year ago, and have since joined high school. When I was much younger, I couldn’t even imagine a future as a professional in Kenya. I didn’t believe I would attend high school. I want to thank Crossing Thresholds for the support they offered me by sponsoring my high school education.
They gave me a chance to dream. Now, I have the opportunity to work hard, to go to university, and one day to fulfill my dream of becoming an Information Technology (IT) expert.
When a person fulfills their dreams, they have the skills to fit in and make a contribution to society. For me, it began with the chance to go to high school. I want to thank Crossing Thresholds for helping to make my dreams come true. Thank you, Crossing Thresholds.
Crossing Thresholds Student
In the summer of 2009, just after my freshman year of high school, I joined Crossing Thresholds on my first trip to Kibera. By that point in my life I was no stranger to travel, but I had never been on a service trip or gone anywhere that could be considered a developing country. On our first day in Kibera, we walked from the edge of the slum to CT’s first school, Drug Fighters (DFC), and I remember feeling shock and horror at the conditions that hundreds of thousands of people lived in everyday. When we arrived at DFC, however, the greatest contrast to my own emotions was the joy and happiness of the students. Despite the conditions that these children experienced everyday, what I saw and heard from them was constant gratitude – gratitude toward their incredible school directors and teachers, the meals they got to eat everyday, the CT volunteers, and toward Carter.
To me, and I believe to many others who have joined CT trips, this mentality was contagious and led to a change in my perspective that continues to affect me on a daily basis. I was used to feeling gratitude for large things that stood out to me - the amazing opportunity that my parents and CT had presented to me, the gifts that friends and family generously share with me, or the surprising experiences that continue to enrich me. But the children and people of Kibera showed me that I should not just feel gratitude when it is obvious to me, but instead that I should actively look for things to be grateful for. You can find things to be grateful for every day and it not only makes you a happier person, but also has an amazing positive impact on those that you show gratitude towards.
When I went on this CT trip, I knew that it was an amazing opportunity to help those less fortunate in Kibera, but I didn’t expect it to provide me with one of the greatest life lessons that I have learned. This profound shift in my own understanding of gratitude was one of the many reasons that I returned to Kibera several more times and have continued to work with CT. Many of the things that I came to be grateful for in my life were the things that Crossing Thresholds was working to provide for so many children – a great education, food, healthcare resources, love, opportunities to follow dreams, and so much more. And as I continue my work with CT, it brings me joy to see that same gratitude in an ever-widening circle of children, teachers, and volunteers. Grateful people aren’t just happier but live with greater purpose and almost always greater impact.
Does it really make a difference? Does the high cost of traveling to Kenya outweigh the benefits of donating the same amount of cash? Couldn’t CT find locals to do ‘what volunteers do’ and in many cases do it better?
These are all worthy questions, and worthy of reflection. So why do we dare to argue that it’s incredibly important for us to run volunteer trips? Here are 3 reasons that stand out: