Grant Funding to Support a Volunteer Experience Abroad: Maimuna Abdullahi on the Omprakash Program

Feb 07, 2018 • Views 331
Grant Funding to Support a Volunteer Experience Abroad: Maimuna Abdullahi on the Omprakash Program
Maimuna Abdullahi (far left) with her students in Rabat, Morocco

The Omprakash Ethical Global Engagement Grant Program provides individuals with funding for internship and volunteering experiences with one of Omprakash’s 180+ Partner organizations across 40 countries. Omprakash offers two main grants: The EdGE Gap Year Grant is for volunteers 22 years old or younger, who are prepared to volunteer for more than six months (funding up to $2,500), and the EdGE Travel Grant offers volunteers and interns of any age funding for volunteer stints of three months or longer (funding up to $1,500). Anyone is eligible to apply for an EdGE Travel Grant, regardless of nationality, age, gender, or religion. All Omprakash program participants are expected to complete the EdGe (Education for Global Engagement) online training program, the cost of which can be offset by an EdGe scholarship. All grants are under the same Omprakash Program umbrella.

To learn more about the Omprakash Ethical Global Engagement Grant, we spoke with Maimuna Abdullahi, who volunteered in a hospital in Morocco for seven weeks in 2017, then extended her stay by working in a school in Morocco.

Grant Funding to Support a Volunteer Experience Abroad: Maimuna Abdullahi on the Omprakash Program

1. What inspired you to apply for the Omprakash Ethical Global Engagement Grant?

At the time I discovered Omprakash, I was entering my junior year at the University of Maryland, College Park studying International health and hoping to matriculate to medical school. I ended up having to take some time off school and went looking for an experience that would still allow me to continue my education. I planned to study abroad later on in my college career, so this fellowship seemed to fit in perfectly with my timeline. I was seeking an opportunity to be forced out of my comfort zone, meet new people, and enhance my resume with genuine self-developing experiences.

I was initially only to spend 7 weeks in Morocco. My fellowship was facilitated by an Omprakash Partner: The Moroccan Center for Arabic Studies, located in Rabat Morocco. My fellowship first took place at a Children’s Hospital. After 7 weeks at the hospital, I was made aware of an opportunity to teach English at a public school in Rabat, so I decided to extend my stay. The Omprakash travel grant is what allowed me to do that and the time at the school ended up being the highlight of my time in Morocco.

Grant Funding to Support a Volunteer Experience Abroad: Maimuna Abdullahi on the Omprakash Program
Abdullahi with her students in the classroom

2. What have you enjoyed most about your fellowship?

One of the things I enjoyed most about my fellowship was the people I met. These people include the students I was teaching at the school during my fellowship, the other teachers at the school, the staff at my supporting organization, and the other people being supported by the same organization. They were all amazing resources during my fellowship and each of them played some sort of role in my success there. Some of them continue to be a great support even today as I move forward in my college and professional career.

I am currently in my home country, Nigeria, and am doing a paid internship at a diagnostic and research lab. My experiences doing this fellowship strengthened the professional skills I need in my current position.

Grant Funding to Support a Volunteer Experience Abroad: Maimuna Abdullahi on the Omprakash Program

3. What resources did the Omprakash grant provide?

The Omprakash grant not only covered the cost of the online training program, but also provided me with funds for day-to-day costs including food and transportation. The training program consists of approximately 12 units. Each has an interactive section, ranging from discussion sections for students in the cohort to exercises outside of the platform. One I particularly enjoyed was taking field-notes in the Rabat medina. Most logistical support came from the Moroccan Center for Arabic Studies (MCAS), the Omprakash partner organization I worked with. They helped me in navigating my new settings and maximizing the benefits of my time in Morocco.

Grant Funding to Support a Volunteer Experience Abroad: Maimuna Abdullahi on the Omprakash Program

4. What tips would you give others applying for the Omprakash Ethical Global Engagement Grant?

I advise anyone looking to apply for the grant to first really spend time on the platform; read some of the blog posts, browse through the available positions, read reviews, and definitely sign up for the EdGE course. I stress the course because I feel it really does a great job of preparing anyone looking to work with an Omprakash partner abroad and reveals the type of thinking required for such a position. The course is definitely the best way to see what they are looking for in candidates and I believe my participation with my cohort on EdGE reinforced everything that I said in my application for the grant.

Maimuna Abdullahi is a student at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is currently majoring in International Health and minoring in Business Entrepreneurship and Innovation. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree, she intends to matriculate to medical school and go on to become a doctor and provide quality medical care where it is not easily accessible. 


Interested, but not ready to apply today? Bookmark the Omprakash Ethical Global Engagement Grants to your ProFellow account!

© Victoria Johnson 2018, all rights reserved