• Vanessa

It's Tandem Tuesday! Meet Olaf and Sinani

Both dedicated and active individuals, Sinani and Olaf started the Global Match journey highly motivated for a new and, in many ways unknown, challenging experience. One from Jinja, Uganda, and one from Karlsruhe, Germany – two different backgrounds and yet very like-minded people, brought together by Global Match as a tandem promising an exciting journey together. In this post, you can get to know them better:

Sinani from Jinja

Next to work, Sinani is volunteering in two local NGOs, one of which he even co-founded, and brings along a good amount of project experience. Drawn to the organization’s objectives, he launched himself into the journey after a friend in his community introduced him to the Global Match platform. Olaf is a student of Electrical Engineering and had just returned from his exchange year in China. Looking for an opportunity to get involved in a social project, he happily learned about Global Match and applied instantly.

Fields of interest they both have in common are music, sports and the pursuit of their dream to have an impact on people’s lives and contribute to a change in a community. From the very start, they describe, they had a deep and honest connection – at first exchanging weekly over workshop topics such as postcolonial continuances during the platform’s online sessions, and now building a truly caring friendship through being in touch on common media almost every day!

While just getting started on developing their project together, until now Sinani and Olaf have mainly enjoyed connecting to a person from the other end of the world. As neither of them has ever taken a step on their tandem’s respective continent, they highly appreciate the opportunity to learn about their different life realities from a new perspective, which includes some challenges such as simply not benefitting from the same quality of internet connection or even having a laptop accessible fulltime to work on. What helped them in building their genuine connection certainly were some “rules” they set early on: be openminded, try to understand each other’s background and challenges, show respect and always communicate in a direct and honest way about any issue, whether regarding the exchange during the sessions or life facing post-colonial power structures in general. Maybe thanks to these agreements, Olaf said he was struck by surprise that for example his and Sinani’s different religious beliefs didn’t influence their friendship.

Olaf from Karlsruhe

Both having started with a big picture in mind of setting up a social community project and engaging with local youth, they just passed the session on problem analysis in the second half of the Global Match journey. Their project idea includes fighting poverty and unemployment in Uganda, by creating a space for young individuals who may have just finished high school but find themselves left without a plan for their future. Through motivational work, IT skills workshops and practical project experience, Sinani and Olaf wish to provide just the lacking information that keeps a significant number of talented but underprivileged young people from pursuing their dreams. Even though, the tandem agrees on the desirable outlook of creating a project really connecting their two countries, they came to the conclusion that at this starting point, their work could be more specific based in Uganda; especially in Sinani’s region as he has already set food in community based projects and knows best about the local issues and needs. Maybe they might even connect their idea to one of his NGOs, basing their project on established fundaments and developing it from there – time will show! Altogether, Olaf and Sinani can already look back on a beautiful experience opening up new opportunities and widening their horizon – and, also changing them as a person: While Sinani especially enjoyed learning more about social life, Olaf became more grateful for his opportunities and wants to strike the right balance of give-and-take in life. If one day they visited each other, Olaf would be hoping to show Sinani his more rural home region emphasizing that also Germany faces a gap between rich and poor, and Sinani would want to take Olaf to Uganda’s many natural assets like the Nile, Lake Victoria and Bujjagali falls and also the surrounding areas of his home town.

We as the Global Match team wish them good luck on their journey, many innovative ideas and all the energy it needs to tackle postcolonial continuances!

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