International Study Trip presents life-changing opportunity for two MBA candidates

With the 2014 Laurier International Business Study Trip fast approaching, here is a look at the amazing efforts from two now MBA alumni, Rahim Velji and Nadeem Moloo. Rahim and Nadeem, with the support of their MBA class, spearheaded the fundraising campaign for the Soweto Marimba Youth League (SMYLe), to build a house for two deserving young girls, Alice and Portia whom they met while participating in last year’s Laurier International Business Study Trip in South Africa. Through Rahim and Nadeem’s strong will, and with the help of their classmates’ donations, not only were they successful with their campaign, they exceeded their fundraising goal and provided the funding to build a new home for Alice and Portia. Please join us below as we discuss Rahim and Nadeem’s fundraising journey with them.

What motivated you two to fundraise for SMYLe, and specifically for Alice and Portia?

While participating in the International Business Study Trip, Lazaridis MBA Alumni and host, Michael Rea, introduced us to students at the local high school, including two young girls, Alice and Portia. Michael described to us the poor condition of their living space that had been ruined by harsh weather. We then had the chance to visit the girls’ home and see firsthand their living conditions. We were informed of the incredible opportunity to help make a difference, and with both of our parents having been born and raised in East Africa, this empowered us to have a true attachment to the project. We immediately decided to take on the initiative of helping raise funds to build a new home for Alice, Portia, and their family. We felt the desire to make an impact, and represent Wilfrid Laurier University and the MBA program.

How was the International Business Study Trip a factor in your fundraising efforts?

The International Business Study Trip last year to South Africa provided us with the opportunity to experience a different business environment first hand while gaining perspectives on different cultural environments. We thoroughly enjoyed the Study Trip as it assisted us in gaining a better understanding of the corporate culture, as well as allowing us to identify with South Africa on a personal level. For example, during our time in South Africa, we had the opportunity to visit a local high school in Soweto where we painted classrooms for the children. Prior to this, the facility, including the classrooms, were in horrible condition evoking an alarming and emotional response in us. This Study Trip allowed us to meet fellow Alumni Michael Rea who educated us on SMYLe, and the small amount that could help to build one new home for a family in need. Knowing this, we described our plan for fundraising efforts to two of our full-time MBA classmates, Navdip Dhundal and Omar Kassim, and they gladly joined in our efforts to raise the required $3000 to build a new home for Alice and Portia.

What was your plan for fundraising and raising awareness of your initiative?

In order to reach our target of $3000, we organized a few initiatives throughout the 2013 Winter and Spring semesters. The first event we organized was a bake sale that required a lot of planning and preparation. There were many people involved to help us reach our goal including fellow MBA classmates and Study Trip attendees, faculty members, and our MBA Director Hugh Munro all showed their support through baked goods and making donations towards the cause. The amount of support we received was amazing. The bake sale was a huge surprise success raising close to $1000 and bringing us closer to our goal. The success of the bake sale inspired us to do more fundraising for Alice and Portia. After Winter semester was completed, we had spare time to dedicate towards raising awareness for the girls in our respective hometowns of Edmonton and Calgary. We were able to organize bake sales in both cities, as well as continue to receive support through donations from students, faculty, and family members. As we approached our fundraising target of $3000, our team decided to host another event at the Brick Brewery in Waterloo. This event was only possible through assistance and a $400 donation from Laurier’s student club, Net Impact. The fundraiser was promoted as a social event for faculty, students, and alumni, with a multi-prize raffle satisfying the fundraising need. This event was again a huge success and allowed us to surpass our main objective of raising $3000 to help build a new home for Alice and Portia, ultimately boosting us to a total of $4000 from all of the combined events.

What are you taking away from this experience?

The Lazaridis MBA program emphasizes professional development while the Not-for-Profit practicum instills values, and offers students the opportunity to become well-rounded individuals. The annual International Business Study Trip and the SMYLe fundraising initiative were both an amazing professional experience, as well as eye opening personal experience. Each truly contributed to our maturity and development as not only individuals, but professionals as well. Being able to build a new home for Alice and Portia gave us the opportunity to make a difference in something we had formed a real attachment with. We both developed a relationship and attachment to the cause that continues to motivate us to help the less fortunate today. All in all, this venture capped off a great MBA experience.

With having participated in this amazing experience, we pass on our well wishes to the 2014 International Business Study Trip class and encourage them to embrace this once in a lifetime opportunity.

International Business Study Trip
The global economy is undergoing a complete reorganization. Are you prepared for the opportunities? Will you be among those individuals who have the education, experience, and ability to fulfill the roles of leadership? This two-week excursion allows our students to learn how business operates in a foreign country. Students will participate in business meetings and company tours in the host country, as well as gain valuable insight into the differences in culture and the way in which these differences affect business operations in that country.

The Soweto Marimba Youth League, or SMYLe, is a youth development programme based in the Dobsonville area of Soweto, situated to the southwest of Johannesburg, South Africa. Centred around a highly entertaining touh steel drum and marimba band, SMYLe appears to be little more than a successful music project. However, SMYLe is an academic support programme that uses music as a means for encouraging at risk youth to stay in school.

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