Giving Thanks, Election Day, and Tanzania – Thoughts from AIA’s Fundraising Director, Nathan Yee

November 22, 2012

November began with a flurry of excitement over the approaching Election Day. The culmination of all the campaign destinations, public speeches, and debates over a wide array of relevant political/social/economic issues, would finally reach its climatic end with a candidate selected to oversee the future of this nation for the next four years.  While the presidential election stole the spotlight this night, something very peculiar was brewing in the state of California; the majority of its citizens were voting “yes” on Proposition 30.  They were saying “yes” to higher taxes.  This appeared well outside of California’s M.O. and would be considered taboo for the majority of its citizens.  Now if one were to eliminate the political jargon, Proposition 30 would read as the institution of a $6 billion dollar tax increase on personal income intended to offset spending cuts that would have depleted annual budgets for schools and public safety.  Without getting too political here, let’s view this at a fundamental level…California’s fight to save education and its public safety institutions.

As a byproduct of California’s public university system, I’ve seen the impact of a rattlededucational infrastructure.  Tuition hikes, limited class availability, teacher strikes, prolonged graduation dates, and even the diminished hopes that some will finish are all symptomatic of budget cuts to our schools.  So how is this all relevant to Africa? How does this first world problem resemble anything close to the day to day struggle for Tanzanian children to reach their career aspirations? Although there are some parallels that can be drawn here, the main undercurrent is perspective.  How fortunate of us to have the opportunity to learn and to be able to act towards our dreams.  How fortunate of us to be selective with the choices that determine our future and equip ourselves with invaluable knowledge to carry with us throughout a lifetime.  We are no more deserving in this world than anyone else.

Be thankful for your education.   We view ourselves from a materialistic lens, and are privileged to do so. Strip possessions away, and you will still be left with it. Achieve In Africa recognizes this and our mission has never been stronger.  We continue to instigate change for communities in need and have been touched by the resounding response…7 classrooms renovated, 8 classrooms constructed, 280 desks provided, 3 education sites with electricity, and 2,350 students impacted annually.  And this number is still growing.  In Obama’s acceptance speech, he exclaimed that “we are greater than the sum of our independent parts”…Let us put this into perspective and continue to prove it to ourselves and those we seek to help day after day.

– Nathan Yee – AIA Fundraising Director