Since 2013, we have created relationships with over 25 organizations and schools in Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Kenya. As we move forward, we hope to continue building these relationships and having a sustainable impact with each of our partners.
“It’s always a joy to experience the arrival of the study abroad students from Virginia Tech University. They come with such youthful enthusiasm and a vibrant eagerness to learn, participate, serve, teach, play, and grow. The youth of Bruh Tesfa Youth Development Center in Adigrat, Ethiopia love seeing them on the premises and usually grab them by the hand to encourage them to play soccer, basketball or volleyball, teach some cool English phrases, try out some Ethiopian dance moves, or cook some spicy local food. Even if the VT students only stay with us for a few weeks, they quickly become members of our extended family. Spending so much time immersed in a different culture opens up their eyes to different ways of living, working, thinking, and believing. This leads to deeper self-reflection on the part of each student and allows them to appreciate the lifestyles of others, including the immense challenges young people face growing up in the developing world. The VT students leave Adigrat changed, with a greater desire to help those less fortunate than themselves wherever they end up in their journey of life. In everything they do, the VT students never fail to show professionalism and sensitivity to our local culture. They inspire our youth to be true to themselves and to reach for the stars in pursuit of their future career goals. They are excellent ambassadors of the United States and of the American high educational system. We always look forward to welcoming them to Bruh Tesfa and to continuing linking their lives with those of our Ethiopian young people. Thanks for all you do and please keep coming back!”
- Father Paul Reilly, Director of Bruh Tesfa Community Centre (Adigrat, Ethiopia)
“The month of November has become the favorite for children in Rilima schools and to all community members, as it is not a month like the others. It is a month of joy, creativity, self-expression, interpersonal skills development, critical thinking, to challenge others and get challenged themselves. It's simply a month of fun, new friendships and learning differently. Having VT student's assistance in achieving our Foundation's goals is not only a valuable helping hand, but they also bring a lot of innovative ideas, energy, and strong will to achieve their tasks and get fully involved in different ways. Many past students have reached out to us after the program and physically returned to support the community with their time & means. They created teaching programs, built water treatment stations, houses for families, charging stations, repaired classrooms, etc. This program has become the most important partnership Fondazione Marcegaglia has & shall keep for a long time."
- Rwagaju Desire, Rwanda Director of Fondazione Marcegaglia Onlus (Rilima, Rwanda)
Linking Lives has most recently been focusing on helping NGO partners submit grant proposal funding requests. In 2021, Linking Lives in collaboration with Fondazione Marcegaglia Onlus received funding from the US Embassy Kigali to support a 15 week decision making, leadership, and entrepreneurship training through storytelling for 30 women in Rilima, Rwanda.