“You’re going to Ethiopia? What for? Isn’t it dangerous there?” This is the common reaction we received when people hear that we’re going to Ethiopia. English writer Samuel Johnson said, “The use of traveling is to regulate imagination with reality, and instead of thinking of how things may be, see them as they are.” After watching all the videos and reading all the documents, still none of us knows what we’ll exactly see and feel in a mysterious country like Ethiopia. The only thing we know is that this visit will surely be a once-in-a-lifetime experience; all we need to do is to open up our minds and go see for ourselves!
Knowing that the company you work for is making great efforts to contribute to the world is great, but being able to actually experience it gives you a different sense of mission. The Soft Toys for Education campaign has been running for many years: when a soft toy is bought, one euro is donated by the IKEA Foundation to help improve children’s education in remote rural areas.
Since I joined IKEA, I have seen others sharing their IWitness experience a few times. This year, I decide to see for myself. During our time in Ethiopia, we’ll visit three schools and other relevant educational institutions. We’ll also visit some local children and families to see how solar lamps donated by IKEA Foundation have actually changed their lives. We have prepared plenty of activities and packed lots of goods, hoping our visit can bring happy and special memories to local children. Our pens, paper and cameras are ready; we ambassadors will record everything we see in the journey to let our colleagues have a better understanding of IKEA’s contribution in improving children’s education in remote rural areas. It can also bring a more profound meaning to the Soft Toy for Education Campaign which runs every November.
Besides myself, several other ambassadors are also embarking on this IWitness adventure:
This will certainly not be an easy and relaxing trip. It’s a long way to get there, and we might encounter many unexpected problems. At the same time, we’re also worried that we might not be able to bring back the exact message we are supposed to deliver. When I first met the other ambassadors, I found out that some are good at taking photos, some are very thoughtful, and some know how to create afun and positive atmosphere . What’s most important is that everyone is enthusiastic and is very much looking forward to the upcoming challenge. It made me feel relieved.
In the two weeks before our departure we came up with activity plans and prepared things we need. We’ve also been getting to know each other, and I’m very happy that I made some new friends. Because of such a versatile and passionate team I’m really looking forward to this journey into the unknown even more! Off we go!