I have volunteered for Redemption Song Foundation for the last two years and it was the name that triggered my connection to the cause in the first place. Named after one of Bob Marley’s songs, Redemption Song, RSF aims to emancipate or free “conservation refugees” from poverty and destitution. As a refugee living in Sweden, Wendee’s mission inspired me, and that is why I am a part of RSF’s volunteer team.
After finishing my undergraduate study with a major in Sociology and Social Administration 16 years ago I had worked for about 7 years helping vulnerable people and groups in my home country, Ethiopia.
In 2008 I decided to change my career to environmental communication and came to Sweden to earn a Master of Science degree with a major in Environmental Communication at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. I returned home in 2010 and worked for 5 years helping local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) preparing project proposals and writing environment-related stories in print and online media.
Before I left my home country, I was managing a solar social enterprise that was distributing solar lamps and chargers to poor rural households. But all that changed when I had to flee Ethiopia in 2015 to seek asylum in Sweden.
A couple of years ago, I connected with RSF to help volunteer for their organization. During the past two years, I helped create our online store, wroteblogposts, posted on RSF's Twitter account, authored press releases and sent them out to media outlets, and worked on the RSF Giving Tuesday/Clean Water for Christmas campaign that raised $7500 to get clean water for the Batwa of Kalehe village.
I recently completed a Master of Arts degree with a major in Communication for Development from Sweden's Malmo University, and I am studying Swedish language and taking a course on social work. A few hours of volunteering can fit in with a busy life, and RSF is very flexible.
Being a refugee myself I have a compassion for the vulnerable Batwa as refugees from their homeland even though the situation is different, so I try to incorporate a few hours of volunteer service when I can. I get enjoyment out of volunteering and I am happy to help RSF. I plan to continue volunteering for RSF and I hope others could join too.