By Kira Munk-Wells

I think a single event can change your life. I believe this because it happened to me. I went to Nepal at the end of high school, to do an independent project about poverty and its effects on children. I visited a community for lepers, an orphanage, a hospital and a school — all run by the same nonprofit. The things that I heard and saw had a great impact on me.

The hospital was in an old building with broken elevators. Sick and disabled people were carried up the stairs on the backs of the healthy. I spent a couple of days hearing stories about difficult situations, and how help had arrived. One day I spoke with a ten year old who had been trafficked into slavery. His uncle had promised to take him to a city to get an education. Instead, he sold him as a slave. This little boy was treated badly for two years, and made to do all the household work for an unkind woman. Luckily, he was able to escape, and was then rescued by orphanage workers, who found him in the streets. After his ordeal, would he have been able to recover by himself? Probably not. After hearing this little boy tell his story, I saw how he had benefited from the assistance of a nonprofit.

Without help, he could have become another street kid looking through garbage for bits of plastic to sell. Now, because of a charity’s help, the little boy was living in a loving place, studying in school.

Since my trip to Nepal, I knew I wanted to work in nonprofit development work. Children need extra help, because sometimes they have no way to help themselves. This is why I became interested in Plan. Plan’s mission is to create lasting changes which benefit children and their communities. When I saw that an internship was offered, I jumped at the chance. I’ve just started, and already I can see cross-cultural communication at the center of this organization.

It’s really exciting here in Rhode Island, to see this whole building full of people working toward better conditions for children and their families oceans away. In this building, generosity and good thoughts are turned into actions. Here I can learn about how contributions are spent, what the development programs do, and how children are benefited by all of Plan’s work. Money isn’t just placed into the hands of the poor. It does more than that. Plan’s work is long-lasting, and is based on helping people help themselves.


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