The Hearty Hand of Mother Maryam Foundation

Before applying for an internship, I had listened to different actors on the transformative impact of The Mother Maryam Foundation. When I got an acceptance letter to work with them this fall semester, I was excited because I had a rare opportunity of being part of the transformation. The Mother Maryam Foundation was established in 2006 in Austin, Texas, with the key purpose of developing and supporting projects that improve the health and welfare of economically disadvantaged individuals across the world.

The internship at the organization provided me an opportunity for self-fulfillment, as I was able to assist different people to meet their needs for educational opportunities, basic needs, clean water, nutritious food, and medical care. The major projects that we were involved in during the internship were remotely managing health projects in Zawrat, and water projects in Kolomiseed. Every week, we had to set up a video link with the team on the ground to be able to capture the progress of the projects. The team was tasked with analyzing different communities and identifying areas that were in dire need of educational support, health services, and safe drinking water. The data collected across different countries was helpful in assisting the organization plan and prioritize future projects.

At the start of the internship, the organization was focused on meeting a fundraising milestone, and we were actively involved in reaching out to different people so that they could sign up. As an intern, I had to approach influential people in organizations and the community, inform them about the social and economic problems that different groups of people are exposed to, and persuade them to contribute or volunteer towards specific goals.

Although people across the country are very compassionate, there was a need to only appeal to them emotionally, but also show them how much power they possessed, and how their contribution would transform lives across the world. This was achieved partly through the presentation of a portfolio of projects that the organization has accomplished over the last 13 years. For those who had contributed before, we were tasked with sending them personalized letters, with photos, as an appreciation to them for being part of the transformational journey. The organization had compiled data that showed that people were more likely to make contributions when they received personalized appreciation for completed projects.

During the fundraising, the foundation works with individuals as well as institutional donors. The members of the board had a significant number of funds raised through individual support for the foundation. I have also been sent to update some of the institutions that support the foundation. The institutions include South Austin Rotary Club, Rocket Science Realty, LLC; The John B. and Ethel Templeton Foundation; Downtown Austin Rotary Club; and Kyle Rotary Club.

We also had the opportunity to help refugees in Austin, and I was able to interact with the refugees and get to understand their motives for fleeing their country. The interaction changed my perception of refugees, and I expect that the experiences with the individuals will greatly influence my future points of view on divisive issues such as immigration.

The two projects that were close to my heart at the organization were the collections of school supplies, and laptops for Africa, and the assistance in a malaria campaign. All the projects at the organization were equally important, but these two particularly effective with clear short-term and long-term effects. It was also easier to convince people to donate their extra laptop or buy nets for a family in Africa. According to those I interacted with, they preferred the donation of goods because they felt that their impact would be greater than financial contributions that they feared might be spent on administrative and logistic issues.

The campaign against malaria included educating society on preventive measures against malaria. Pregnant mothers and mothers with newborns are given mosquito bed nets to help them enhance prevention measures against malaria. They are also provided with artemisinin-based drugs to combat mosquitoes. I participated in the spraying of the walls of several families’ homes and schools with oil and stagnant water to kill the mosquito larvae.

The internship provided an opportunity for me to enhance my professional, academic, and personal goals. Being a humanitarian organization, I had to interact with people from different backgrounds, and this helped in enhancing communication skills and my understanding of the societal issues affecting people from different backgrounds. My understanding of government policies was transformed, as I saw the power that citizens have when they pool together towards a common cause.


Kids with backpacks sent by Austin donors.


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