Amanda Lasik

Amanda Lasik (The Blind Education and Rehabilitation Development Organization- BERDO): Amanda received a bachelor’s degree in International Business from Northern Arizona University. She served as an Americorps VISTA member working on educational programs for immigrants in rural Washington State. Amanda has also volunteered in Central America and worked for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, where she managed legislative advocacy related to health care and disability rights, wellness programs, and Spanish self-help groups. At the time of her fellowship, Amanda was studying international development at the University of California San Diego’s School of International Relations and Pacific Studies. After her fellowship Amanda wrote: “[This] was a great learning experience for my professional development. I gained an invaluable perspective on a new part of the world. I have a much greater understanding of Islam and a culture I was unfamiliar with prior to my fellowship. I also have a new understanding of the challenges of fundraising for small NGOs in developing countries.”



SHIFTING GEARS

26 Jul

I just returned from Mexico where I was working on an economic development project in an isolated area of Baja California with roughly 100 residents. In contrast, I am now preparing to travel to Dhaka, Bangladesh where there are over seven million inhabitants! Bangladesh, with a population density of 1090 person per square kilometer, is considered by many to be the mostly densely populated country in the world.

I will be working with an organization called the Blind Education and Rehabilitation Development Organization (BERDO) that empowers people with disabilities through income generation, leadership development, education and training. I was drawn to this fellowship because of the overwhelming need for services for people with disabilities in Bangladesh. I have experience advocating for legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act but am excited to learn about disability advocacy on a completely different level in Bangladesh.

To prepare for my trip, I took a class at the Islamic Center of San Diego and have been reading Brick Lane. I am not sure what will unfold for my workplan, but I am ready to jump into a new experience. In terms of projects, I hope to work with BERDO’s unique microfinance program that pairs members of the disability community with those from the non-disabled community to create awareness while working to alleviate poverty.

Now for a long flight…

Posted By Amanda Lasik

Posted Jul 26th, 2011

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