Submitted by joseph on Tue, 2012-06-05 12:38
- GUEST STORY FROM Joe Castiglione -
I began my last semester in college in the same position that many graduating seniors find themselves as they prepare for the so-called “real world”: I had a solid idea of what I wanted from life and absolutely no clue as to how I would get it. I spent weeks frantically searching for some kind of work that was in any way relevant to international development, desperate for anything that would give me a leg up on competition in the job market. After scouring pretty much every resource at my disposal, I finally came across a small, relatively young non-profit known as CTC International. Having lived in Austin and worked with non-profits for several years, I thought I was pretty well aware of the causes advocated by different organizations here in the community; to my knowledge, international development was not among them. Fortunately for me, I was wrong.
Immediately upon visiting the website and reading about their work, I knew that CTC was an organization I would feel honored to be a part of. Their approach to community development was something completely different than anything I had ever encountered. Relationships are the cornerstone of CTC’s work and it is through these relationships that we provide opportunity. We engage the people of Maai Mahiu, empowering the community to lift itself out of poverty and effect sustainable change according to their own needs and desires. CTC works to address the deepest roots of social marginalization, breaking the cycles of poverty that plague so many developing communities.
My experience as the CTC Development Intern transformed the way I feel about my field of work. CTC’s holistic approach fundamentally changed how I think about development initiatives and had a profound effect on my personal and professional goals for the future. I’ve learned that sustainability isn’t built through aid packages or short-term development initiatives, but rather through collaboration with local actors to engage individual needs and empower communities to create their own change.
I feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to work with such a young, passionate group of people like my friends here at CTC. Though my work with them will soon be coming to an end, I will leave this organization having learned a more effective approach to sustainable development and a deeper understanding of the needs of the developing world. This is, after all, the very mission of CTC International – to encourage individuals across the planet to commit to our global community, empowering them to become agents of social change in their everyday lives.
Joseph "Joey" Castiglione