Malia Cali, a rising junior on the women's cross country and track and field teams, had the opportunity of a lifetime this summer as she traveled to Kenya on a mission trip with Student-Athletes Leading Social Change. The group of student-athletes from four major universities worked to raise money for schools for the non-profit Free the Children.
Watch a video on Malia's time in Kenya here.
Malia Cali on her time in Kenya:
I went with a group called SALSC (student-athletes leading social change) which included students from UNC, Michigan, Illinois, and Lehigh. We raised money to build a school in Kenya through the non-profit organization Free the Children. Free the Children has projects in seven countries and their goal is to bring sustainable change to communities by addressing the four pilars of education, water and sanitation, the environment, and alternative income.
In our time there we were able to help build the school as well as learn about the people, their culture and their way of life, and the difficulties they face each and every day. We lived without electricity and running water for the duration of our trip, learning to appreciate things that we had previously taken for granted.
To experience the joy and gratitude expressed by these people who have so little really put into perspective the how fortunate we are. It was also very touching to see how much the children valued education and their excitement toward learning. For them, making it to high school is a privilege and often a sacrifice that their families cannot make. That being said, it was extremely rewarding to see the changes happening in the communities that Free the Children have entered.
Through education, families are becoming more aware of health issues, the people are taking part in alternative income activities, and the advancement of the area is continuously occurring. I hope to continue my involvement with the organization because the actions they are taking are bringing the hope of a much brighter future to many children in impoverished areas around the world.