Every year, Humanity & Inclusion’s office in the U.S. opens its doors to aspiring professionals who want to further their experience working in the international disability community through a variety of fellowships. In the summer of 2017, we welcomed Anna Custis, a bright, eager U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) fellow. She also happens to be a woman who is hard of hearing.
During her fellowship, Anna (then age 21) was particularly interested in our health and rehabilitation work. It makes perfect sense, as today, she works as a vocational rehabilitation technician with the Florida Department of Vocational Rehabilitation in Melbourne, Florida.
“I’ve seen firsthand the amount of work and resources that go into rehabilitation, and I’ve also seen the impact it can have on peoples’ lives,” Anna says. “From the freedom to move around, to being able to pursue school or finally earn your own money, rehabilitation can really be the catalyst to helping people achieve their goals.”
Since 1982, in aid of Cambodians, rehabilitation projects have formed a key part of Humanity & Inclusion’s work. During the early years, our core activity was providing rehabilitation care and artificial limbs to landmine victims and refugees, enabling them to regain mobility and dignity. Today, our rehabilitation work covers a wider range of activities from short-term solutions like providing equipment and physical therapy, to more sustainable solutions such as training rehabilitation professionals, building rehabilitation centers and establishing or supporting rehabilitation professional networks.
Anna was so inspired by this work during her fellowship that she wanted to do more. But like many of us during our college years, she wasn’t able to make a donation—just yet. So, she selected Humanity & Inclusion as the charity to receive donations through AmazonSmile, a website run by Amazon that donates to a charity of your choosing every time you make an Amazon purchase. Each time she purchased school supplies, Humanity & Inclusion received a portion of the funds.
“I told myself that once I get a job, I’ll be able to sign up to become a monthly donor for Humanity & Inclusion,” Anna continues. “I got my job last June, was able to save some money, and now I finally have the opportunity to uphold the promise I made to myself!
“The way Humanity & Inclusion cultivates its relationship with donors is different from what I see from other big organizations. There are no super emotionally-driven ads or shock-pieces. That, to be honest, sometimes feel like the purpose is to guilt people into donating. To me, Humanity & Inclusion feels more genuine and relationship-driven compared to their counterparts.”
Anna joins our dedicated group of First Responders—regular donors whose support helps ensure that people with disabilities can live dignified, independent lives. Anna, and other monthly donors like her, make it possible for Humanity & Inclusion’s teams to respond in places where vulnerable individuals need it most. Thanks to regular, dependable donations, Humanity & Inclusion teams in nearly 60 countries provided support to more than 2.1 million beneficiaries in 2018. We can’t wait to see what we do together in 2020 and beyond!
This story was originally featured in the Spring 2020 edition of The Next Step.
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