This experience helped me prove to myself something I knew all along: I am strong and resilient. I can face challenges on my own. I am more than capable of transforming discomforts into growth opportunities.”— Crystal l Williams
Crystal is one of the 30 fellows in the 2017-18 cohort under AIF’s William J. Clinton Fellowship for Service in India. She believed that her life’s mission was to inspire people to use their gifts to create a positive impact in the world. Working in a non-profit and government program, she utilized her skills to promote individual and community change.
The Fellowship helps shape the next generation of leaders committed to impactful change. It pairs a select number of highly skilled young professionals with leading NGOs and social enterprises in India, to accelerate impact and create effective projects that are replicable, scalable, and sustainable.
During her ten months at Video Volunteers(VV) in Goa, Crystal developed solutions to strengthen human resource practices, and supported fundraising and strategic planning for an education-based project. “I had to prove something to myself and this Fellowship would serve as my litmus test,” shares Crystal. The high point for her involvement was helping marginalized people, which was closely aligned with her personal story and journey.
During her journey, Crystal experienced an unexpected personal tragedy, when she lost her father. “I did not know how to handle this, but I remembered why I was here and how proud my Dad was that I was taking this journey for myself,” she says. AIF admires Crystal’s courage, perseverance and humility in addressing her personal and professional challenges during her Fellowship. It applauds her success in making a positive impact on her host organization. Utilizing her skills and experience, Crystal added value to the Video Volunteers team. She developed a ‘one stop shop’ employee handbook, a strategic fund-raising plan, training manuals and a Goals, Objectives, Strategies, Tactics (GOST) framework. She developed grant proposals of which almost half were funded.
AIF’s Fellowship program is aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals, as it provides a framework for collaboration to talented young professionals from America and India to work with select non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in India for a period of ten months.
The program has been a strong model for ‘Partnerships for the Goals’ of SDG 17 as it builds next generation of leaders committed to lasting change for underprivileged communities across India, while strengthening the civil society sector with replicable and scalable solutions in the fields of education, livelihoods and public health.