By: Ilana Shushansky
This weekend I had the pleasure of spending my Saturday in New Jersey. I know what you’re thinking: Jersey is not where most people want to find themselves on a nice winter Saturday. Accompanying me in the lovely Garden State, however, was the Board of Directions of the Uttaranchal Association of North America (UANA), one of VOICE’s new implementation partners for this summer. The main objective of UANA is to preserve and promote the culture and heritage of Uttarakhand and to organize social activities to both develop and bring the community closer.
While VOICE initially planned on remaining in Hyderabad this summer, Ramesh (one of UANA’s most persistent and motivated Board members) after learning about VOICE was determined to convince us otherwise.
We had many conversations with Ramesh and other Board members over the past few months and they ran a pilot 1-week winter camp using an adapted VOICE curriculum, proving that UANA is well equipped to implement camps this summer.
And after meeting with the entire UANA team on Saturday, I am more then confident that we made the right decision in piloting VOICE with a northern partner. Not only are the members of UANA excited about working with us this summer and implementing VOICE camps in their own school, but they are also committed to the success of VOICE as an organization. While presenting our five-year growth and expansion plan and discussing the human and financial capital such growth entails, every Board member was eager to offer both their professional and personal skills and connections to help us reach our goals. By the end of the meeting a few UANA board members even asked if there was a VOICE job they could apply for.
Mission alignment was the first category we added when establishing guidelines for how to evaluate whether a partner is well suited for VOICE or not, and while my Amtrak train headed back to NY late Saturday afternoon I knew that we could not have asked for a partner that better fit this requirement.
This summer UANA will be running 5 VOICE camps for 150 girls in the northern region of Uttarakhand.
For more information about UANA you can visit their website at http://www.uttaranchal.org/