YSYF Spring Fundraiser Wrap Up - Team Talk with Een Syed
One of the key ingredients in any successful NGO is continued interaction with donors and supporters. As Outreach Liaison, Een Syed heads up these efforts for YSYF by connecting with Canadian universities to find individuals interested in supporting its mission.
Using the momentum from the University of Toronto Scarborough chapter formed in 2020, YSYF’s first university branch, and now led by Tanzeel Sultan, Een set her sights high for 2021/2022 expansion. This past year she recruited and helped create three satellite teams across the country: Arianna Halani leads the University of Ottawa chapter; YSYF McMaster is headed by Amna Soomro and; Kris Suri (also the Volunteer coordinator for YSYF Canada) championed the University of Toronto St. George chapter.
Spring in Canada is a transition to renewal, rejuvenation, and hope for the warm months ahead. Just above the equator nearly 9,000 kilometers away, Ghana begins its descent into slightly cooler weather at this time of year. This means seeds will be planted and ready to harvest in August. But this year hasn’t been like any other.
Not only is April a month of agricultural preparation, but it also has religious significance, as Muslims and Christians will be observing Ramadan and Easter. On top of this, Ghana has faced food security issues and rapid inflation due to global shortages in staple food ingredients like wheat. YSYF had the pleasure to run another fundraiser in April and May in support of the Shai-Osudoku community. With the help of nearly 100 donors and through the support of our university chapters, it raised almost $5,000 which fed a thousand people in the eastern Ghanaian denomination to celebrate the holidays.
The four chapter presidents were instrumental in the success of this fundraiser: The Food Basket Project. Een praised them for their outstanding efforts: “It was super nice to see how invested they were, I was proud of them and I can’t wait to see what they do next year.” She was an important factor herself in the fundraiser, amassing nearly $400, a tenth of the $4,400 goal YSYF set.
When speaking more broadly about YSYF, Een can’t help but radiate her excitement and passion for the organization: “[The chapter presidents] saw that the impact YSYF makes is very different from other non-profits where we’re trying to make a big difference in the sense of helping with financial stability, education, stuff that changes the economy of Ghana rather than just giving monetary donations.” Most recently YSYF is building a vocational training center in the Shai-Osudoku district to create sustainable access to education. Een is keen to continue developing her own knowledge, too: “YSYF allows me to grow and be better and learn more. Coming onto this team I’ve learned so much.”
Een Syed (second from left), Outreach Liaison for YSYF Canada, is in charge of recruiting and assisting university chapters spread the mission of the Ghanaian-based NGO with their peers.
No matter how small the fundraiser, there are always challenges. Een shared some behind-the-scenes knowledge, having spearheaded fundraisers for Relay for Life, that worked for YSYF this spring: “Short weekly meetings allowed us to recuperate, give us a boost to keep going forward, and help us out with organization.” When asked what tips she would give to those throwing a fundraiser she said “My biggest tactic is to just ask.” People will donate if you give them a kind nudge!
An entrepreneurial mind is indispensable to reaching any kind of fundraising goals. Een herself has such a mindset after having finished her undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of Toronto last year. Since then, she founded ATeleMed in January, a virtual care platform, which will bridge the gap in health disparities for those with reduced mobility and accessibility issues. “The idea is to make [access to health care] an equal playing field for the whole population in North America.” Een said when discussing the company.
Hoping to pursue a Masters in biomedical engineering, Een wants to develop accessible care machines to ease the public’s relationship with health care: “I’ve always wanted to help people and I think this is a way I’d be able to make an impact in greater form than I ever thought so before.”
When driven by the will to help others, we can meet what seem to be insurmountable goals, and when your passion collides with an extracurricular opportunity, seize the moment! It will take you to great places.