Gifty credits her family for her love for volunteering. Her father worked with development organisations, so his passion for development activities rubbed off on Gifty. It inspired her to focus on development activities around her. At the university, Gifty studied Development Studies due to her interest. “ I love developmental issues.” She says. Gifty soon realized that one way that she could facilitate development in her community was to volunteer.
So, while on vacation from school Gifty sought out volunteering opportunities. Her brother also encouraged her because he too had benefited from volunteering. Finally, Gifty got the opportunity to volunteer at the African Women’s Development Fund(AWDF). This opportunity changed Gifty’s life forever.
“It was a great experience, in fact it was amazing! It was an opportunity to grow and learn and improve myself. AWDF is an international organisation, and I had the opportunity to interact with women all over the African continent!” Gifty recalls. She volunteered with the Grant department where she engaged in administrative work as well as writing and editing engaging articles for the organisation’s website.
“I wasn’t treated as a volunteer. I was treated like staff. They appreciated my thoughts and comments on issues.” This motivated Gifty to continue volunteering. Later, she volunteered as a trainer with TODA Africa on their Touch a life project where she taught women to make beads to create employment for themselves.
Volunteering to help others has had an incredible impact on Gifty’s life. Her volunteering experiences have boosted her confidence, her experiences as a volunteer with AWDF and TODA Africa taught her the communication skills she needed to engage with people from all walks of life. Careerwise she gained skills in administration, Writing and editing reporting, teaching others and organising programmes. These skills helped her to get employed at AWDF as a consultant! The same place she volunteered some years ago! Most significantly, Gifty’s volunteering experiences inspired her to start GraceGift Foundation, an organisation that helps street children in her community.
One challenge that Gifty faced as a volunteer was funding her travel to and from volunteering activities. However she didn’t allow the problem to stop her from volunteering. She used her personal savings to sustain herself. Why? Gifty answers, “Volunteering prepares you for jobs. I saw every day as a learning opportunity, to prepare for the world of work and I didn’t want to miss any learning opportunity.”
Finally, Here’s Gifty’s advice to you, “ To everyone but especially my fellow women. We all can make it if we put our minds to what we want to do. If you are a woman do not look down on yourself. Do not think you don’t have the space to fly. Volunteer your time. Develop yourself. As Sheryl Sandberg said “We need women at all levels including the top to change the dynamic reshape the conversations. To make sure women’s voices are heard and seen not undervalued and ignored.” You can do it!”
Gifty Edem Asare holds a degree in Development Studies from Valley View University. She currently works as a consultant with the African Women’s Development Fund(AWDF). She is also an entrepreneur and Founder of Akyede3 Beads as well as Executive Director for GraceGift Foundation.
What did you learn from Gifty’s incredible story? Have you volunteered with her or benefited from her volunteer work? Tell us about it in the Comment Section.