We work at the grassroots level throughout the Muslim World to counter violent extremism before it takes hold, to promote tolerance and understanding, and to foster better relations with the United States.
The following is a guest post from AUA Mosaic Fellowship recipient Adam Kruse. Adam is currently volunteering in Bangladesh through The Advocacy Project during the summer of 2012. To find an amazing volunteer opportunity, search the AUA Directory of Recommended Organizations© today
When I think about the blind I immediately think of a good friend of mine. She is suffering from Macular Degeneration and in the past months while I’ve had free time I’ve been reading to her. I confess, she is not completely blind but has what the doctor calls “Partial Vision”. This means that she aligns her hood ornament to the white line of the road while driving because she can no longer see straight ahead. She has no idea what is coming towards her; she just knows that she’s on the right side of the road going the right direction. That is what I feel like when I think about going to Bangladesh and helping the blind. I am on the right path going the right direction, but I have no idea what’s coming towards me. It’s scary, and exciting all at the same time.
I applied to The Advocacy Project Fellowship with BERDO because of BERDO’S mission statement. While I was in college I studied social and cultural change amongst marginalized communities and while researching I came across a book called “The Ancient Future” by Helena Norbert Hodge. The book has changed my worldview and has strengthened and focused my understanding of the problems and solutions for marginalized individuals. BERDO’s mission to empower people with disabilities through income generation, leadership development, education, training and treatment facilities to become full members of their community with access to the social mainstream is exactly what I was looking for when I started my search. I have been discussing the logistics of my fellowship as well as writing goals and objectives related to my time in Dhaka with BERDO’s administration. Their mission aligns with my personal and professional dreams and I feel confident in our ability to accomplish our objectives.
BERDO and its mission was not the only reason for my wanting to go to Bangladesh. I have often found myself heading in one direction and then suddenly following something that intrigues me and takes me to a place I never would have thought to go. I once went to Panama, planning on staying there for a month, and found myself in northern Nicaragua two days later. I cherish where my hardworking Midwest work ethic and a willingness to tolerate adversity has taken me. So, the door has opened to Bangladesh and I am going. I am fascinated by the idea of living in a city of nineteen million people. My town claims to have ten thousand when all of the college students are in town. I cannot wait to have a fuller understanding of the current population issues. Another attraction to Bangladesh is its richness in culture. When a country fights a war over preserving its official language, you know there is some serious culture… I am attracted to the language, food, music, and religion of Bangladesh and plan to learn about all of them equally.
My professional goals while acting as the 2012 Advocacy Project Fellow, as I have stated, are directly aligned to the mission of BERDO and the goals of the fellowship. My personal goals are simple and sincere. I hope to learn a new way of being, make life long friends, and invest myself in my work.