A team of online volunteers produced a monthly e-zine, supported a campaign to open the first school in Okoijorogu village and drafted an eye-care plan that serves several villages in rural Nigeria. They collaborated with Delta Women, a U.S.-based NGO working to empower women in Delta state, Nigeria, and worldwide.
Each of these projects is being coordinated by online volunteers, who have become invaluable assets to Delta Women. “What these volunteers have achieved through the internet is simply inspirational and commendable. This team is passionate about our cause and our organization. They have all donated countless hours and have proven to always be available for anything we need,” says Elsie Reed, Delta Women’s founder and CEO.
While working with street children and Afghan refugees, Iranian Elaeheh Zohrevandi was diagnosed with a condition that prevented her from working in stressful environments. Her passion for helping others motivated her to volunteer for Delta Women, for which she created the organization’s e-magazine. The e-zine helped the organization gain visibility in a number of women’s rights forums. “I have been receiving emails, comments and feedback from readers, friends, contributors -- even my professor at university and my father telling me that the magazine has changed the way they look at the world,” she says.
Kirthi Jayakumar from India played a central role in the Education and Justice Campaign for opening a school in Okoijorogu, where children would otherwise have to travel miles to reach the closest school. Kirthi also assisted in reporting and seeking justice in a case of a young university student who was being sexually harassed by her own lecturer; she drafted letters and wrote to the organization and lawyers. “I believe that the cohesion, encouragement and overall inspiration of the team of online volunteers have been immense. My collaboration with Delta Women is easily on par with what one would have in a face-to-face setting”.
The Eye Care team, consisting of Emmanuel Owobu, Isaac Owusu, Kirthi Jayakumar, Suman George and Usha Shenoy, came together to help Delta Women bring health care to several villages in Igbanke, Nigeria. The volunteers developed a strategic outline for a mobile eye clinic project, which facilitated a partnership with a national NGO, resulting in providing free eye exams for 161 persons and the distribution of 96 prescription glasses.
Emmanuel, a final year medical student from Nigeria, is well aware that eye pathologies and blindness are a big problem in developing countries. He was eager to contribute to the plan for the mobile eye clinic. “Volunteering for Delta Women has really given me much more than I anticipated. I always felt I could do more to help both people within my immediate surroundings and others not within my reach”.