2020

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There are many moments in one’s life that can inspire a person. A beautiful sunset can inspire the creation of a magnificent painting. A brilliant speech can inspire someone to take up politics. A great novel can inspire an individual to think with purpose. Inspiration is everywhere if we just take the time to look.

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Then there are those individuals who are inspired by something or someone to dare make a difference in another human being's life. GiveLight has created another mission within the organization to do just that. Project Inspire is designed to help tutor the children residing in Givelight homes across the globe. With the help of numerous mentors, the children living in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and soon to be Morocco, are receiving excellent supplemental education through the Project Inspire program. The team of mentors is many; they are ready, willing, and able to offer educational guidance in Math, English, and even the arts.

One such mentor is Javed Mohammed, a passionate GiveLight supporter from Northern California who was introduced to the project by Founder Dian Alyan. Javed decided to volunteer with Project Inspire after a 2019 trip to Morocco. “It was one of the most memorable and touching moments in my life.”

Javed, who teaches English to the kids in Sri Lanka, said that working with the children has given his life more meaning. “This has been a great experience. You slowly form a relationship with each child. Now it’s so much that I would love to visit them in Sri Lanka (with lots of gifts).”

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Ake Pangestuti became involved with GiveLight during the 2017 Walk-A-Thon, and has since contributed her time to the marketing team, design team, Project Inspire, including helping solidify the curriculum. She taught ESL (English as a second language) during her college days in Indonesia and that prompted her to become an English teacher for the children in Aceh. “I still couldn't believe that I could teach ESL again. Project Inspire has given me an opportunity to help the children, and I feel blessed. My goal is to be useful for others and Project Inspire gave me the avenue to share knowledge as well, that I hope can be my perpetual good deeds.”

Maliha Karim, from Boston, teaches English to the children in Bangladesh. In college, she was an Italian tutor and continues to teach her three children math, writing, and Arabic. “Project Inspire has been life-changing for me. As a stay at home mom, I often felt disconnected. Project Inspire has helped me feel as though I am making a meaningful contribution. I feel as though I am being able to add value to the education of children all over the world, and being able to teach and give back to them has felt incredibly rewarding.”

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Along with Math and English, art is taught as well. Cheyaan Jamal, a senior in high school from Southern California, has been teaching the kids in Indonesia since she was in 8th grade. “I first started teaching English and Reading through a program I started at my middle school. It was great to have my classmates and I meet with the kids in Aceh. When high school began, I taught more from home and then asked Aunty Dian if I could teach art instead since that is a hobby I am deeply interested in.” Cheyaan believes Project Inspire can create more driven students. “It helps kids become more passionate about certain subjects and allows them to have a more diverse skill-set. Since I'm teaching art, I also feel it is a great stress-releasing outlet for them to showcase their creativity. It’s been so great to see how excited, happy, and energetic they are and that gives me a lot of joy especially during this pandemic.”

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Esma Ozgun, a second-year college student from Northern California, has been involved with GiveLight for the past two years and reached out to Dian Alyan when the lockdown took place. “After the Covid lockdown, my mother and I discussed how I could benefit my community remotely. Given the confinement, we thought, ‘why not offer quality education in the same way to children with fewer resources?’ Inspired, I immediately called Sister Dian, hoping her organization would be open to launching such a program. Amazingly, she told me that she had just started a program for remote learning and was seeking more volunteers. I’ve been honored to be a part of Project Inspire ever since.” Esma now coordinates the mentors for Turkey and Bangladesh, as well as tutors periodically. For Esma, Project Inspire “means giving whatever you can offer to benefit GiveLight children-it means not only tutoring them but also cultivating bonds and inspiring them by being a role model.”

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Project Inspire is one of those programs which rewards both the mentor and the student. Timid students have warmed up to become more out-spoken, and it has been such a pleasure to witness their progress. There have been some challenges due to the language barrier, time differences, and inconsistent internet connections. But that has not stopped the mentors from reaching their students. Their patience, commitment, and the pure love they have for the children keep them going. We are immensely grateful for their dedication and we look forward to greater results in the years to come.