A Deep Desire, and a Support Network That Helped Me Jump – Amani Institute

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A Deep Desire, and a Support Network That Helped Me Jump

By: Emilia Ganem, Amani Social Innovation Management Fellow 

Exactly one year ago, my life was going fine. But it was just fine, not great, and I felt the need to do something different. I needed to break out of my daily routine. I knew I had more to offer and that I could learn more about the world as well. A strong force inside me was pushing me towards a decision.

So I began to visualize what this journey would look like. I wanted to follow my desire and my curiosity to explore the world and find out new things about myself, my next steps, and try to hone in on my skills. I also wanted to gain experience which would help me create more social impact.   

Somehow, it dawned on me that I would go to India. Suddenly, I felt ready to take the next step. But, where, how, with whom? Some ideas started coming to my mind. After four years of working and learning in the social innovation ecosystem in the global organization Ashoka, I felt I wanted to work with a social entrepreneur, in the field.


Still, the direction was unclear. I started talking to people, sharing my dream, asking about their own journeys. Until the magical words came to me: “but, you know? Amani is opening an office in India!” Synchronicity is a word that I became acquainted with last year. And that needs no more explanation than the example above.

Twelve months later, I am here, in India. I cannot think of a better design for the journey I am currently on. Amani Institute has been not only my comfort in the discomfort, and a huge professional learning, but also a journey of rediscovery. I have been able to make this country, India, my home, 17,000 km away from my own place, family, friends and everything I previously knew in this world. The Amani team accompanied me, supported me, made me feel stronger, more creative and more certain than ever before in my life. They have been there since the very first moment I said yes, and guided me through an intense inner and outer process of exploration, that so far, has allowed me to experience the most incredible learnings such as:

  • Working in the field, with an amazing organization called Dream a Dream, where I combined the things that I love. I was able to create communications strategies, play football and enjoy art sessions with children. I also went camping with 30 young people!
  • Sharing my days, my apartment, and classes with incredible people from all around the world, who are now my family.
  • Traveling and visiting different breathtaking cities and mountainous destinations, meeting more diverse people.
  • Learning about an ancient and modern, and contradictory and crazy and traditional culture like the Indian one.

So far, I am learning to create ventures through teamwork, to think big, to step into my fears instead of avoiding them and to believe that my strengths are worth it and useful.

During our welcome dinner, in August, Roshan Paul, Amani Institute’s Co-Founder said some words that have repeated over and over again to my mind: “If in one year you discover that Amani Institute didn’t change your life, please come and reach out to us.” Dear Roshan, I don’t need one year to tell you that unexpectedly and profoundly, Amani has already changed my life.

Are you ready to take a leap outside of your comfort zone and unlock your potential? Learn the skills you need to create social change in our Social Innovation Management Program in Bengaluru, Nairobi, or Sao Paulo!

Tuesday January 15th, 2019 by Abby Ter Haar

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