13 Jun Changemaker: Sultana Ali
“The good news is doing something, is always better than doing nothing. It’s not up to one of us alone to solve the issues of the world, but we can come together and make a difference.”
Sultana Ali, Pathways to Impact Giver, Refugee Empowerment
We are so excited you have joined our monthly giving movement. Why is sustained monthly giving important to you?
Monthly giving is important to me because it allows me the opportunity to provide support to a cause I know makes a difference and to give back to others. Rebuild Globally is an incredible NGO and does tremendous work with communities in Haiti, long after many groups left the country. The reality is that sustainable development takes time and long-term investment, as well as creative solutions, and Julie Colombino has sparked a movement that I’m grateful to be a part of.
You designated your monthly investment to our Refugee Empowerment Program. What compelled you to choose this Pathway to Impact?
“Creating community and opportunity through economic empowerment enables refugees to envision and advance themselves and their families.”
You have been friends with our founder Julie for some years now and even got her involved in UNA- Orlando. Do you have a favorite story about Julie/RG?
I’ve been friends with Julie for many years, and remember the day I drove by her house and she told me she was moving to Haiti after the earthquake. I’ll never forget the look and her face filled with an intense desire to change the world in a positive way. I knew no matter what, I would always be in her corner, cheering her on and supporting her. We have been sisters in this journey to make a difference for awhile now and many of them through the United Nations Association. One of the memories that has always stayed with me were her contributions to an event celebrating United Nations Day called “Nurture the Nations.” This was a confluence of art, music and culture as a means of awareness of the former Millennium Development Goals, particularly Goal # 5 (Improve Maternal Health). Our event had more than 150 attendees and raised $1000 for a local non-profit which provided services and support for young mothers. For the event, Julie choreographed a dance to Aimee Mann’s “Wise Up” which simply took my breath away. She spent countless hours preparing the piece for this event, giving her time, energy, and talent, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house at the end of that stunning performance.
The global refugee crisis is one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time and taking action can sometimes feel overwhelming. What advice would you give to someone who wants to make a difference but doesn’t know where to start?
Our world is facing so many challenges at this moment, one of them being the refugee crisis. When combined with the nonstop media cycle and information overload coming at us collectively, many people might feel overwhelmed and perhaps even helpless. The good news is doing something, is always better than doing nothing. It’s not up to one of us alone to solve the issues of the world, but we can come together and make a difference. I always counsel people to look at themselves and consider what they enjoy doing and their own talents and skills. Are you a good graphic designer or event planner? Do you know how to connect people? Perhaps you really love social media? Or you have two hands and some available time or a few extra dollars each month in your budget? Just find one easy way to give back and through that experience, you will become more empowered, learn something about yourself, and you will help others in the process. That is how we make a better world – one person, one action at a time, and it all starts with the willingness to give.