This blog series is a focus on people who are working to make a difference. Whether it be on the web or in their local community, by whatever means of action, and no matter their initiative, these individuals striving to make whatever change are not on all occasions acknowledged their goodwill and encouragement towards others.
CALL FOR WITNESS: If you know anyone that deserves to be featured in this stories, contact me.
CARLA — FOUNDER OF RUN THE WORLD
CARLA is a young French university student. In 2015, with fellow students, she founded Run The World, an association that aims at giving access to education to children in third world countries. Last summer, the team embarked on their very first humanitarian trip in Dominican Republic.
I would like to thank Carla again for taking some time to answer my questions.
♢ In your early years, who were your role models and why?
It might be a little “cliché”, but I think I would say that my mother was (and is) my role model. She fought to raise my little sister and I, working days and nights for us. She taught me to be an independent woman in life and how important it was not to count on anyone. I think that I followed this goal by creating Run the World Association to allow kids around the World to be independent as well.
♢ Did any issue mattered to you?
I always hated injustice. I remember a day, in 5th grade, a classmate asked my teacher if in a homework we had to do he was allowed to use any word to express his feelings about a subject. The teacher answered affirmatively, and in the end, he had been punished at the principal office because of the (rude) words he used. It opened a debate in class, in which I practically yelled at my teacher saying that it was his fault, because he was the one who allowed him to write anything. He was really mad at me first, but the day after he gave me a 20/20 for my reasoning ability and my elocution.
♢ What were your dreams and goals?
I guess that I just wanted to grow up as an independent and friendly woman. I have been raised in a privileged environment in which people are not often really kind with everyone who is not from their “world”. I always found this really revolting and today, I am not ashamed to say that none of my friends are coming from this environment. A lot of time I have been asked why I was friend with “these” people, and I had to experience a lot of gossip-talks behind my back. At the beginning I was really sad about this and I did not understand but now, I am really proud to be the different one. The one who doesn’t stigmatize others because they don’t come from the same social class, the same country and because they don’t have the same culture. I think that I achieved my goal in this way, I am contributing to bring love between people by leaving the closed environment in which I grew up. Every friend that I have taught me something important about their traditions, religion, culture, and way of life. They allowed me to become a better and more simple person.
♢ Is the career you want to pursue related to your dreams and goals?
Nowadays, I am studying law and economics. It is indeed, pretty much related with my goals and I hope that I will become a great lawyer.
♢ How did you come up with the idea of Run The World Association?
Since I was 15 I had this idea to create an organization. I started by joining a worldwide association to learn a little bit how it works, and when I arrived in university in 2015, I thought it was time for me to build mine. It is what I did with Run the World.
♢ With what objectives in mind did you start working on it?
First of all, I knew it would be an organization related with children. I also knew that I wanted it to be a student organization because a lot of time young people who want to make part of a humanitarian project are told that they are too young. I made it an organization working on the education of children around the world after thinking a lot about how I would be able to make their future become better, and of course, how I would be able to offer them the opportunity to be independent.
♢ Did you encounter any difficulty while working on the project?
Yes, a lot! It is really hard because I am running it during my studies and usually, founders and presidents of organization put all their time in it. At the beginning, a lot of students contacted me to be a part of the project, it was really nice. But unfortunately, some of them decided to leave the organization for different personal reasons, or because in the end, they thought that being in a humanitarian project was not as hard as it really is. Plus, it is hard to raise money. We have to imagine a lot of ways each month to have donations. But when I look at what we have been able to achieve this last year, I am really proud.
♢ What encouraged you to keep working on it?
A few months ago, things were really tough. I had the impression that I was the only one fighting for equality for these children and nobody cared. Someone that counts a lot for me told me: “Oh, you are not a fighter anymore. Okay, I understand. You are going to let the people that don’t trust in your beautiful action win, and you are going to let these children that you love without any help. It’s okay, I really understand.”. Seeing the happiness of the children we helped this summer definitely made me think about what he told me and I know today that I want to see their smile every year. It is definitely worth it.
The RTW team on their first trip in Dominican Republic in August 2016
AN ACCOMPLISHED PROJECT
♢ What is your favorite thing about taking part in such meaningful action?
Without any doubt, it is being with the children each year and knowing the project I created made them being as happy as they are at this moment.
♢ As of today, what are you the most proud of as regards to your project?
I am really proud to know that a lot of completely different students are working with me for this great cause. It is such a pleasure when volunteers thank me sometimes for having created this organization and when children we have been able to help hug me saying they love me.
♢ Can you tell us what you’re planning for the future of Run The World?
I think (and hope) that in a few years, Run the World Association will grow and will help more and more children to have access to schools. I, of course, would like it to become as big as possible and we will do everything we can with the volunteers, to make it happen.
♦︎ WHAT WOULD YOU TELL A YOUNG PERSON ASPIRING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
I would tell them to focus on their project without listening to people who will try to discourage them. It will be hard sometimes, but the purpose will definitely be worth it. They should never give up.
Thanks so much to Carla again!
Missed a post in the Making A Difference — Portait Series? Check it out now:
- Part 1: Dani DiPirro, the author & blogger behind ‘Positively Present’
- Part 2: Chelsie Prince, founder of Proud and Pretty in Pink
- Part 3: Russell Lehmann, public speaker and autism advocate
- Part 4: Naomi Lea, mental health campaigner and volunteer