Kurandza: Why Giving Back is a Wellness Practice
Kurandza Means Love
On September 1 — my birthday! — the non-profit organization, Kurandza, launched its second annual #IStandForGirls campaign with the goal of raising sponsorships for the education of 200 girls in Mozambique. The topic of this post is different from my usual beauty/self-care theme, but those who know me well know that I used to work with the refugee population, studied international organizations in school, and feel passionately about raising the global standard of living.
Not to mention, living a life that aligns with your values is the ultimate form of self-care — you feel it at the soul-level. If wellness is a value of yours, and promoting the wellness of others is aligned with your beliefs, then here’s what you can do. When it comes to empowering vulnerable populations globally, there are so many different ways to help, from supporting infrastructural development to providing individuals, groups, and communities with the tools for self-sustenance.
Through Kurandza, I have learned that providing education — particularly for young girls — is one of the most efficient ways to take action. The benefits of education and positive socialization during early development are vast and documented, and not just at the individual-level, either. Educating one girl also benefits her entire community, impacting an estimated 20,000 individuals over the long-term.
Learning about the uplifting effects of education on children and communities worldwide has given me an incredible appreciation for my own education. If you're like me, then giving from a place of gratitude is magical — it's like self-care for the soul. Thanks to the far-reaching implications of the services Kurandza helps to provide, it's mind-boggling when you realize just how much good you can actually do from afar, even by supporting those relief workers whose efforts are felt firsthand.
I truly believe in Kurandza and many global relief organizations in the non-profit sector, a couple of which I used to work at. My interest in the non-profit sector began during college, when I volunteered helping tutor refugee youth through an organization called the Southern Sudanese Community Center in San Diego, CA. Meeting Sudanese children, adjusting to life in the United States after enduring what can only be described as "existential homelessness," was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life and I became passionate about the plight, cause, and advocating on behalf of the social/political/clinical needs of vulnerable populations worldwide.
Because of my desire to work with the international population, I obtained a graduate degree in Clinical Social Work at Columbia University with the plan of working in the international sector. It was during this time, while living in New York, that I connected with Love Kurandza’a wonderful co-founder, Elisabetta. I'm proud to be involved with the launch and think the world of Elisabetta — a truly beautiful human, inside and out.
Elisabetta, Co-Founder of Love Kurandza
Incidentally, I first met her through my friend, Gaby, who is also basically an angel on earth and works in the non-profit sector... Coincidence? Nah. It's just the magic that happens when you're aligned with your soul's path AKA high vibe livin'.
Keeping its personal relevance in mind, it is my honor to introduce you to Kurandza’s #IStandForGirls campaign, which empowers each of us the opportunity to give the life-changing gift of education, that will improve the quality of life for so many, from across the entire world. The social media campaign's goal is to raise 200 scholarships for students to attend their partner school in Mozambique, each sponsorship costing $20/month. After their first week, they already raised 50!
The organization as a whole relies on a multi-pronged approach to foster stability, empowerment, and to help establish the groundwork for a thriving future in Mozambique. Their work encompasses pre-school programs, nutrition and food security, as well as small business development initiatives to create jobs long into the future. Their #IStandForGirls campaign, focusing on the tremendous long-term potential of providing education to the rising generation, is key.
Sprinkled throughout Kurandza's website and social media accounts are tidbits showing just how positively education impact a child's life course trajectory. For instance, did you know that access to education decreases the likelihood of her becoming a child bride?! It also raises the likelihood that she gets vaccinations, and decreases her chances of contracting HIV. These are evidence-based findings that show how much of a difference efforts by organizations like Kurandza can make, which is pretty exciting for my fellow bleeding hearts and sensitive souls out there.
Most of us can appreciate education firsthand because it is thankfully provided here in the United States. But in places where an education is a luxury, the benefits of the life skills, socialization, academic knowledge, and the tools for self-sufficiency that each student receives will truly help long-term.
Percina, Program Director + Co-Founder of Love Kurandza
Support a Girl, Empower a Community
Education for students today guarantees a much-brighter, long-term future in a part of the world that many of us will never even visit. (I've never been to Mozambique! Have you?) But apart from our personal identifications with various communities, religions, and nations, there's beauty in our shared humanity, too.
Sometimes it takes stepping out of the norm, or the comfort zone, to embrace a cause that barely even impacts you. But take it from me that it's invigorating. Part of why I love this organization is that I personally feel so strongly about its devoted founders!
Other than Elisabetta, whom I met in college, take a moment to appreciate Percina, her co-founder, best friend, and the inspiration behind this incredible social cause. Understanding the importance of obtaining an education, Percina was the first girl to graduate from High School in her village. To do so, she walked ten miles to school and back every day!
Through her work with Kurandza, she's going above and beyond to remove the barriers to education and to ensure that Mozambique's future includes an entire generation of educated young men and women. In Mozambique, there are so many factors preventing parents from being able to send their kids to school — ranging from geographical factors to lacking the funds to purchase a uniform. Your $20 accounts for everything she (or he — they don't exclude boys) will need to receive all of the gifts that education brings through the non-profit org.
I won't lie — I complained my way through my entire graduate degree. (Talk about entitled!) But the confidence, friends, knowledge, life experience, and even structure I gained from pursuing my education has been invaluable to me. Along with the privileged upbringing I was fortunate to enjoy, my pursuit of education has been one of the most defining and empowering aspects my life. Everyone deserves a shot at the mind-broadening experience that comes with learning, and the incredible opportunities that can come with it.
Just look at the cuties below — wouldn't it feel amazing to give more of their peers the opportunity to pursue a future with greater possibility? To sponsor a girl (or boy) student, click this link! 100% of your donation goes to support Kurandza's work in Mozambique.
Elisabetta's Namesake + Students on a Field Trip
Featured photos via Facebook/Love Kurandza + Instagram/GlobalDreamCollective
Has education impacted your life positively? Tell me on Instagram!