Maxwell Song ’23

Nyanam Widows Rising, Kenya

Nyanam Widows Rising is an NGO based in Kisumu, Kenya, that seeks to provide widows with the resources they need to lead positive social change within their communities. These women typically face social stigmatization and economic disempowerment from cultural practices or a lack of protections, and Nyanam addresses this by providing free business skills and property rights training to educate widows financially and by setting up support circles to promote mental wellness among the community. However, in these extraordinary circumstances, Nyanam has also been providing free meals, masks, and sanitary products to take care of our community since many widows have now found themselves without a source of income.

When I first began as an intern, the only knowledge I had of fundraising was what I had learned in a Winter Study course taught by Laura Day ’04, Director of Annual Giving. So, coming into this small organization that had so much potential and room to Maxwell Song '23 standing in front of shrubberygrow was absolutely fantastic because I could push into new subjects and areas of fundraising, non-profit, and event planning that I had never explored before. I was able to plan an international video call to celebrate our program that attracted an unexpectedly large audience, and we were able to provide over 100 Covid-19 kits to widows and their families. The momentum stemming from the event pushed me to explore new avenues of fundraising and grant resources. I wanted an internship where my time would be spent directly helping others and at Nyanam I was able to makes this pursuit a reality.

I have done so much in my short time as an intern and am so proud of what I have accomplished. Next year I will be the Director of Fundraising at Nyanam and will be leading a team of volunteers who can help with researching and applying for grants for future initiatives. I will also be responsible for promotional materials regarding Nyanam’s events, fundraising goals, and recruitment of new volunteers who would want to get involved in fundraising.

These are just a few of my goals for the next phase of my involvement with Nyanam. I know that my list will only grow longer as I explore more into the needs of the organization and learn more about what other organizations are doing as we enter a new age of virtual fundraising events and funding. I’m excited to learn more and to become involved in a new capacity for an organization I fully support.

To Mr. and Mrs. Palmer as well as the ’68 Center for Career Exploration, thank you so much for making this summer at Nyanam a reality. Without your support, I never would have been able to dedicate as much time to this organization and impact as many people in Africa as I did.

Thank you!