Life Changing Experience – Aiman's Trip to Malawi

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For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be part of an initiative that would change someone’s life, but never fully had the chance to because life always got in the way. However, my dream turned into reality when I learned about the Roche Children’s Walk, a global initiative in which employees raise awareness and funds for children in need. All monies raised are matched by Roche and go to projects related to education, nutrition, primary healthcare and social development for the children of developing countries, including Malawi.

The moment I learned about the Children’s Walk, I knew I wanted to be a part of this worthwhile program. The generosity of my family and friends helped me be the top fundraiser at Roche Canada. By sheer luck, I was randomly selected for the opportunity to be an Ambassador of Roche along with eight others from across the globe to experience first-hand the progress made in helping the children of Malawi.

I was ecstatic and nervous all at the same time after learning about this great opportunity. There was very little out there to prepare myself to witness first-hand the harsh living conditions for the people of Malawi but I was hopeful in seeing the great work and impact Roche has made since this initiative was first created.

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Every moment – from my first day at Maharishi Institute in South Africa, to the last day in Chiradzulu Teachers’ Training College in Malawi – was an eye opening experience for me. I had the opportunity to meet some of the most inspirational people who believe that "Education is Freedom". It is their life mission to empower the nation's youth to create the freedom and equality that only comes from equal access to education. Roche and its partners in Malawi had a hand in facilitating and realizing this mantra in all institutions that I visited and all the young, passionate, and dedicated children I had the great pleasure of meeting.

Despite their daily hardships, it was inspiring for me to see all the work Roche has done especially after learning about Janet's story. A young dedicated student from the European Coalition of Positive People (ECPP) that defied cultural norms to wed at the age of 13 yet continued her studies even though she was the only girl in her class.

It was great to see the change education was bringing to children like Janet. A change that would move the legal age of marriage to 18, therefore protecting young girls from being taken out of school. All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Roche who has been part of this initiative since 2003. It has helped build four early childhood development (ECD) centres, improved eight existing ECD centers and helped train over 320 teachers. As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which can be used to change the world” and I am happy I was able to see it in person. This experience has encouraged me to lend my voice and my efforts in furthering Roche’s philanthropic causes. Being part of this initiative has changed my life for the better, for which I will always be grateful.

Tags: Canada, Career Blog