We'd like you all to get to know us better and learn more about the people who ensure that Give2Asia's programs and services are running smoothly and of the highest quality. This month, we interviewed our Director of Advisory Services, Aqeela, about her work with Give2Asia, her interests, hobbies, and personal goals. Let's continue our interview series with our next installment on Aqeela.
1. How did you get involved with Give2Asia?
I have worked in the social sector for nearly a decade and I found that one of the biggest challenge nonprofits faced was maintaining sustainable funding channels. Additionally, I found that there was often a disconnect between donors interests, and NGO or community needs. I transitioned into the philanthropy sector to learn more about the motivation and methodology of philanthropic giving, while also amplifying the voices of local community-based organizations. Give2Asia is one of the few organizations that creates a connecting channel for local organizations of all sizes in Asia, with various donors such as corporations, foundations, and individuals.
2. What’s been your favorite Give2Asia project?
There have been so many! The ones that affect me the most are the projects that impact the root causes of social issues and empower the population in need.
MasterCard Worldwide stands out in my mind as an example of a donor whose charitable investments aims to empower vulnerable populations. Mastercard Worldwide advances education and financial inclusion to catalyze prosperity in developing countries. Give2Asia currently manages a few of their grantmaking partnerships in India where NGO partners, such as Literacy India, provide skills development and entrepreneurship training to women from rural communities. With the grant support, women and girls are empowered to launch small businesses and gain financial security and independence.
3. What do you do when you’re not working for G2A?
I am an avid cook, an amateur gardener, and enjoy running and being outdoors. I also volunteer for Refugee Transitions on a weekly basis, where I spend a few hours providing home-based tutoring to a family from Afghanistan.
4. Where have you been in Asia?
I have been very fortunate to see a few countries in Asia. I lived and worked in India for a short while; I was lucky to manage education projects and travel to Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Singapore; and I have toured Thailand, Cambodia, and Beijing on vacation. There is so much more that I would like to see!
5. If you could visit any country in Asia, where would you go?
I would love to travel more of China, see the cherry blossoms in Japan, learn more about Bhutan, and explore the Mekong area in Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.
6. What’s the one thing people should know about Give2Asia?
Give2Asia’s ethos is ‘local knowledge counts’ - I strongly believe that local community-based organizations understand the needs of their community and are implementing projects that are the most effective and impactful. Unfortunately, local organizations in developing countries often fall prey to the ‘communication trap’ and face challenges in connecting with potential donors simply due to language barriers, limited technical capacity, or limited marketing ability.
Fortunately, Give2Asia provides a platform and fiscal sponsorship for local organizations which allows donors to connect with groups that are making the most impact. By giving locally, charitable gifts can go so further and will have much greater impact.
7. Favorite non-English word?
“uMuthu” which is a Chichewa word from my home country of Malawi. It can be roughly translated to ‘I am because we are’ or humanity/human kindness.
8. Favorite phone app?
WhatsApp has been a wonderful way to keep in touch with my friends around the world and Google Maps has saved me from many hours of wandering aimlessly.
9. Winter or Summer?
10. Spicy or Sweet?
I am a sucker for dessert.
11. Math or History?
History holds stories that we can learn from.
12. Last song you listened to?
Unfortunately, I don’t follow the music industry closely enough to answer honestly!
Get to know some of our other team members through our past Meet the Team interviews: