I spent the last two years working for World Vision-an international charity which does significant development work by raising funds through child sponsorship. I proposed to the organization that since they did so much work in countries which had a significant immigrant population that it would make sense to outreach to them, and was given the role of Ambassador to the Ethnic Communities
This had value on a number of levels, it gave the various communities, Indian, Bangladeshi, African and many others, an opportunity to provide input as to how World Vision might best work in their countries of origin and, through fund raising, an opportunity to make a valuable contribution to the development of their native lands.
The role was hugely rewarding, I was honored to be a guest at numerous cultural, religious and National Day celebrations-the only downside was putting on too much weight at these events from the fantastic ethnic food served with abundance and love. I was also honored to be a conduit for fundraising. For example, the incredibly generous Korean community invited me to address their church communities fundraising for the earthquake in Haiti and then presented a cheque for $32,000. This was but one example of the tremendous generosity of the various immigrant communities.
The role at World Vision was within a company type framework and involved a number of office days plus, with so many events to attend, night and weekend work-pleasurable and rewarding but also time consuming.
Being a large multi-national it was constrained, as I saw it, by marketing imperatives and restructuring in the economic downturn. My role was to be subsumed into the sales team which I felt was not where I thought it should be as it was very much a "people" and advocacy role with fundraising as secondary so I left the organization.
I was delighted to present the same outreach concept, advocacy and relationship building, to The Leprosy Mission, a much smaller organization and advised I would be more than pleased to continue the work I was doing, but with them and on a voluntary basis which I am delighted to find they have accepted.
Leprosy is still a major scourge with around 5 million sufferers. There is also a concomitant problem in that when a member of a family has the disease the whole family can become outcasts themselves even though they not suffering from it. I look forward to doing what I can, with the assistance of the ethnic communities from those countries where leprosy is still a problem, and hopefully can make a contribution.