Why our Treasurer, Pip Butt volunteers
I volunteer with Women for Change who support young Maasai women in remote Kenya gain tertiary qualifications, the first women in their families to do so. My role as the treasurer involves allocating donations to our project partners, determining fundraising targets in Australia, as well as working with the finance team in Kenya around budgeting, forecasting and a review process that fits their environment.
With Covid we are having to flex our support as the schools are closed, virtual learning is a challenge and families are struggling. To overcome this, emergency food supplies, fuel, and yes our Covid currency – toilet paper was provided. We also started a new program that pays our scholars to mentor younger women in their communities. Reducing the perceived burden of females on their families and helping our scholars avoid early marriage so they can remain enrolled in their studies.
My sisters and I are the third generation of women in our family to attend university. Growing up I always knew I had that option or any other pathway that I was drawn to. I did not live in fear of female genital mutilation (a practice that is still conducted) or being married off to a man with multiple wives. Having access to tertiary education has opened up a world of opportunity for me, including having the time and resources to give back. Women for Change have supported 78 Maasai women so far, including 4 top achievers to study in Australia. A few hours of my time translates to raising young Maasai women out of poverty which benefits their communities and provides role models for other women, girls and future daughters. When I see their smiles in photos and what they’ve achieved with so little it makes me happy to be involved.
My advice if you are considering volunteering, is to just start. If your concern is time commitment, when you choose a cause that interests you and you can expand your skills, it won’t feel like volunteering.