A Summer at BayGanda, Empowering Girls

My name is Anisa Antonio and I am currently a senior class of 2021. My major is Hispanic Studies with a minor in General Education. During my summer break, I had the opportunity to intern for a non-profit organization called BayGanda.

BayGanda functions both in the Bay Area, California and Uganda as a means to empower young girls in both areas through education and the art of sewing. In California, the organization hosts yearly summer camps for the youth to learn the art of sewing and to create their own garments as a means towards personal growth and empowerment. Similarly, in Uganda, the organization hosts a camp for Uganda girls to learn similar entrepreneurship skills while simultaneously funding their primary education as the gender gap in education remains a current issue.

My internship entailed working with the director of BayGanda to restructure their approach as a non-profit organization that was more directed towards cultural competency and ensuring their practices were catered to the needs of the Ugandan community and families. I was able to research the history of education in Uganda and their current governmental efforts towards combating gender inequality in their society. This shaped my ability to align with the organization’s education initiative and efforts to teach economic sustainability to youth in both areas. I learned a lot about the disconnect between traditional Ugandan practices of teaching and educational institutions as their education system was a product of British imperialism.

My internship entailed a lot of independent research and work in order to be fully prepared to discuss my accumulated knowledge that allowed me to engage in conversations with the board of directors. In addition, I enjoyed how receptive my supervisor was and truly listened to what I had to say and shared my ideas with other board members. I was able to utilize my grant research and writing skills in order to further support the organization by working on how to organize funding for the organization and Ugandan students. A proud accomplishment I can speak on is that I was able to assist in the partnership between BayGanda and a sister organization GirlUpUganda. I assisted by researching about the work GirlUpUganda does in Kampala, Uganda and outlining areas for collaboration between both organizations programming.

Overall, I had a positive intern experience amongst the pandemic. I learned a lot about how non-profits function in my local community and globally, as well as how to be accountable and responsible when given freedom to shape your learning experience.