(As the “Going Global” blog below explains in more detail, the Humanity Project has partnered with an important nonprofit group in Egypt: Egyptian Association for Educational Resources, or E-ERA. They are non-governmental, non-religious. Our partnership involves a blog-and-photo exchange to promote better understanding of the humanity we all share. This is E-ERA’s first blog, written just for the Humanity Project.)
In early July, 25 volunteers came together through a high rope camp in Dahab, South Sinai, in Egypt. The volunteers were E-ERA members who gave their time to teach and share their personal and professional experiences with students in public schools from different parts of our country. This was part of a larger, one-year program that benefited not less than 1,000 students, ages 12 – 16. The program’s sessions included awareness about active participation, research ethics, etc. Some sessions included practical training on Internet technology trouble shooting as well as first aid and many other topics. At the high rope camp, the volunteers shared their experiences in the field with the students, exploring areas for collaboration among themselves. Student participants were faced with a number of challenges. One of the highlights was the Canyon trip. Though the walk started with students needing very little help from others, the difficulty level soon increased. At the mountain to cross double canyons, team members required help from each other to manage the difficult parts. After 30 minutes, the situation was definitely harder and almost everyone needed help from someone else. Otherwise there was no way they could do it. After getting tired and thirsty from one hour of climbing, the group was faced with part of the mountain that seemed almost impossible to cross. The only way to do it was to depend on other team members completely and just trust in them and in the volunteer leaders. The activity ended with the most difficult part of the double canyon: the only way to cross was to hang by a rope attached to the waist of one team member, with another team member waiting at the bottom to help. The group ran out of water, became exhausted and tired. Sweat seemed as if it was raining and students could barely walk. Water was shared along with encouragements, appreciation and thankfulness. At that moment, this was the only language between the team members.
Lessons Learned: Teamwork and team spirit are the golden keys for achieving a common target. Unity between team members became stronger when they were facing the same challenge. Helping others with the aim to reach common goals was a new mindset for the students. Everyone understood that you do not know your real limits until you test them. When you reach it, it does not become your limit any more:
Perseverance is the key for success.
- My success is your success.
- We will only cross difficulties together.
- Comfort zone is an imaginary mental status that you have to stretch.
- You think you know your capabilities and believe you have reached your maximum when suddenly you find yourself capable of doing more when you have to.
The Egyptian Association for Educational Resources (E-ERA) is a non-governmental organization for youth empowerment and leadership. E-ERA works on civic education, professional development, cross-cultural understanding and ICT in education. E-ERA promotes volunteerism and youth active involvement in communities. For more information about E-ERA, please visit www.egypt-era.org.