A friend of one of our staff members recently celebrated her 40th birthday, and in honor of her celebration, Manna Witmer asked her friends to each donate 40 baht to The SOLD Project. In the end, she raised 3,500 baht! We invited her to share her experience here with us:
Manna, thank you so much for your contribution! Please tell us: Why did you want to donate your birthday to SOLD?
I worked with Lisa in Bangkok for two years and when she started working for SOLD I wanted a way to help. I was a volunteer for 3 years in Africa and Central America and I like being involved with different organisations. Since I was having a big party for my 40th, I thought it would be a great way to raise awareness and money for SOLD.
What interests you most about SOLD’s work? Why does this cause matter to you?
I am a teacher so the scholarship program interested me the most. I also believe that education is the only reliable way to break the cycle of poverty and I believe in empowering people, especially children who are our future.
How would you describe your personal mission? What changes do you believe would make the world a better place?
World peace and being a global citizen. My mother is Japanese and my father is Canadian. I grew up going back and forth between the two countries throughout my childhood. Having family in both countries and living as mixed race, I always felt it was my mission to be the bridge between the two countries. I felt that whenever I was living in Japan or with Japanese people, I felt the need to talk about Canada, share its culture and perspective and vice versa. My mentor teacher in high school said to us at our graduation ceremony, “Become a Global Citizen. And the best way to do that is to make friends all over the world. Then you make a personal connection with those countries and you will care more about what happens to the country and its people.” Her words were so powerful and really made me think about how I wanted to live my life. As soon as I graduated from high school I felt the need to travel around the world and connect with people around the world. I believe that you learn so much from traveling and meeting people from different backgrounds. Your ideas and values are challenged, and you start to recognize the similarities and embrace the differences. You become more empathetic, accepting, and respectful. I feel that becoming a global citizen is the key to world peace.
What are you most excited about for this next year of your life?
I recently got married to a wonderful man from Sri Lanka. I have been working at an international school and living the expat life for the last 10 years but we are planning to move to Canada this summer. I am slightly nervous, but excited for this new chapter in my life. I am hoping that I can continue to travel and share my experiences with others.
Thank you, Manna, for your incredible generosity and wonderful spirit! We appreciate you sharing so much with us!