My experience at Health and Education For All (HAEFA) throughout the summer has been very meaningful to me. I was able to get a lot of experience with various kinds of work. From making social media posts to contributing to a research paper, I was able to learn about the ins and outs of the organization and its work. I learned that HAEFA has many dedicated and hardworking individuals who are out in the field in the Rohingya camps in Bangladesh.
Being able to work with people who are as driven as the HAEFA team members have taught me a few things. Firstly, I learned that I must always be able to adapt to changing circumstances in this line of work. A few weeks ago, a landslide and flooding devastated the Rohingya camps in Bangladesh, and our team on the ground had an emergency response. As the media team leader, I had to coordinate with the fundraising team to launch a GoFundMe campaign to collect funds for the emergency response. We spent that whole day creating the campaign and social media posts to raise awareness and funds.
Secondly, I learned that clear communication is the most productive way to complete work. Whenever I needed information for the monthly newsletters that I am responsible for creating or for the research paper that I am working on, I was able to reach multiple people that could help me via WhatsApp. Rather than providing incomplete or inaccurate information, I was able to simply reach out to someone for help, which resulted in me being able to do a better job.
While I was unable to visit the camp site due to the pandemic, my remote work with HAEFA has shown me that I can make a contribution to a global cause from all the way across the world. Social justice work does not always have to be focused on our own communities. While it is important to advocate for our own people, it is important to keep in mind that many of us have the skills, expertise and resources to help those in need in other parts of the world as well. By working at HAEFA remotely, I was able to raise awareness about the struggles of the Rohingya refugees, the prevalence of cervical cancer in Bangladesh, and the dire COVID-19 situation in the country as well. My contributions also aided the fundraising campaigns, which had a direct impact on HAEFA team members on the ground who benefited from new equipment used to help those in need.
Before I started my work at HAEFA, I wish I knew how quickly I would have to learn about the organization. While a lot of information was provided to me during the first days, I had to constantly ask questions about the organization’s activities to better understand certain tasks. This, however, is not a negative thing. I would urge those working in the nonprofit sector to be ready to ask questions and learn about the organization very quickly.