AwareNow: Issue 28: The Mental Edition

Page 146

TANITH: In addition to this you have built several alternatives to academic STEM programmes within the nonprofit arena - what are these programmes tackling and why do you think they are important?

MIRAN: A lot of the time organisations focus on STEM academics as you've already pointed out, but what we realised early on was something called the ripple effect. We've really tried to act on this. We raise awareness about civic engagement or volunteerism. We just held our conference in Togo a few months ago on civic engagement. We were trying to empower youth to understand the power of volunteerism and how they can make a difference in their own community. Building that sort of independence within the community and helping them understand what the benefits are of giving back.

TANITH: You have talked about growing up in the U.S as a person of colour and experiencing and observing many acts of social injustice. How did this impact you and drive you to inspire others?

MIRAN: The USA has its own set of problems, especially as you mentioned, people of colour in that community. I guess the number one thing has been placing myself in different shoes, understanding that I have my own experiences, but then other people have their own experiences too, and realising that people have their own values that they can bring to the table. Something that I've done within my own organisation is made sure that when I'm working with others, I'm bringing a diverse group of people together. My team in our organisation really focuses on this, since we work with so many different cultures and ethnic groups, we want to make sure that we are receptive to everybody’s needs, but also to their cultural values and, and social norms. We feel that once we're able to have a good balance of mutual understanding, that's when the real change happens when both parties are understanding of each other and willing to work together.

TANITH: Miran, you are tackling so many different issues, all of which are massively important, but if you had to pick one thing that you think would change humanity, what would it be and why?

MIRAN: That’s a great question. I’d have to go back to what the core is of our organisation and I think that's education. Education comes in so many shapes and forms that I feel that it's so powerful in terms of supporting communities and making transformations. Education doesn't have to be all books and paper, it can be outside of the classroom learning. It can be diving deep into a community or a culture and learning that way. I feel like when we're all more aware and educated on topics, such as global educational disparities, we're more willing to help out and I feel like that’s really powerful.

TANITH: What are your hopes, goals and aspirations for the future and how can people get involved or support the work that you are doing?

MIRAN: In the fall of 2022, I’ll be attending Duke University and I will be engaging in the natural science programme. I'm not sure what my major will be yet but I'm hoping to do something with global health and continuing that theme in my life. Experiencing education and diving into cultures around the world is really important to me. I'm interested in pursuing a career as a doctor, but then also continuing my work in the nonprofit sector. People who want to get involved can do so in many ways. We have field volunteers that are outside the US that are working in various countries on the ground, but then we also have opportunities for people wanting to stay more in their homes or in the community as remote volunteers and online volunteers. Of course, there's always the donation option, which we greatly appreciate. Lastly, even as small as spreading the word about our organization goes a long way. ∎

Follow Strive2Thrive on Instagram: @strive2thriveedu

Connect on Facebook: www.facebook.com/strive2thriveedu TANITH HARDING

Director of International Development, The Legacy Project, RoundTable Global www.awarenessties.us/tanith-harding Tanith is leading change management through commitment to the RoundTable Global Three Global Goals of: Educational Reform, Environmental Rejuvenation & Empowerment for All. She delivers innovative and transformational leadership and development programmes in over 30 different countries and is also lead on the international development of philanthropic programmes and projects. This includes working with a growing team of extraordinary Global Change Ambassadors and putting together the Global Youth Awards which celebrate the amazing things our young people are doing to change the world.

146 AWARENOW / THE MENTAL EDITION

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