When Adi, 22, finished her military service in the Israel Defense Forces two years ago, she did what most Israelis do: travel. After her six-month-long trip throughout Asia, the native Tel Avivian returned to Israel, and shortly after that, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. That’s when Adi decided to do Project TEN.
“I had a few friends who had volunteered with Project TEN and I’d met other Israelis traveling in Asia who had also done it,” said Adi. “They all had such good experiences and couldn’t recommend it enough.”
Because of COVID, not all global Project TEN centers were open and accepting cohorts, so Adi whittled down her available choices to Ghana or Uganda. She ultimately chose Ghana for its proximity to the beach as well as the chance to volunteer on an educational farm.
Adi’s cohort landed in Ghana at the beginning of January 2021 and volunteered through the beginning of March. Their first week in Africa was spent in quarantine, learning about the community and getting ready to be immersed in it. Once their quarantine was over, Adi and her fellow seven volunteers were divided into projects, facing unique challenges due to the pandemic.
“Every day, Monday through Thursday, we went to a school in the morning to help with different lessons. But having to wear masks made things very difficult… because these kids haven’t been in school for a year so their English skills have suffered and with masks, it’s harder to understand each other,” recounted Adi. “We also couldn’t have as many kids participating in certain programs as they did pre-COVID because of health limits on the number of people gathering together.”
Nevertheless, Adi’s two-month volunteer experience with Project TEN in Ghana was ‘the most meaningful thing.’
“Project TEN really helps the community and teaches its people skills for the future and without us, they can’t really offer kids extracurriculars after school. But it also greatly impacts the participants; I learned so much about myself, the world and education… I truly have a new perspective now,” shared Adi.
Upon returning to Israel, Adi will most likely attend university to study psychology, something she says Project TEN inspired her to do. Before her volunteer experience, she was thinking about studying either psychology or computer science at university but realized in Ghana that she really loves interacting with people and helping them so is now leaning more toward psychology.
“It was so humbling to see the kids in Ghana so happy even when they have so much less than those in Israel or the Western world — it really changes the way you see things,” reflected Adi.
“I’m not going to lie, it was a tough and demanding schedule, plus it was hot and humid,” added Adi. “But the second we stepped into the classroom, we forgot all about that because interacting with the students was so fulfilling. You can’t get this experience of being able to see the world and also really make a difference anywhere else but Project TEN.”