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Since 2018, Cadence has partnered with Team4Tech to make a mark on the world by connecting employees' business knowledge and tech skills with select non-profit partners in underserved communities. This program has been an incredible way for employees to engage in philanthropy and develop as leaders while having a remarkable, once-in-a-lifetime service experience in a new, global community. With over 120 applicants for the program, Team4Tech selected 12 Cadence employees to participate in this year's 12-week volunteer program. The team was composed of members from several countries: Argentina, the U.S., Germany, India, China, Ireland, and Brazil.
With the partnership of Team4Tech, Cadence employees teamed up with RefuSHE, a nonprofit based in Kenya, to support refugee girls and women by developing two important projects: a new e-learning and wellness website that’s also mobile-friendly, and revamping their flagship education model, the Girl's Empowerment Program. RefuSHE supports vulnerable women refugees through unique programs that provide equal access to safety, education, and economic prosperity.
A group of six employees developed a fully functioning e-earning and wellness platform for RefuSHE users with low literacy levels. This platform will help participants learn the foundations of running a small business, vocational skills, and have an introduction to the importance of mental health support. “The creative solution involved open-source platforms, development of new plugins, content review, and a complete redesign of the layout so that the platform was completely accessible even to people who cannot read. Through several testing phases with community members from Somalia and Kenya, we managed to develop a site that was accessible even to people who don't know how to speak the language (Swahili or English) or even read. Seeing people with these limitations using the new e-learning system was truly magical,” explained Cadence software engineer director, Tomas Schweizer.
In parallel, the other cohort worked collaboratively to redesign the Girl's Empowerment Program with the development of a detailed three-year roadmap. By designing new programmatic, operational, and fundraising recommendations and building sustainable exit strategies, this group of volunteers was able to improve a program that will have a lasting impact on the RefuSHE community. Fiona Whelelan, Cadence revenue analyst, explained what working on the program was like: “It is inspiring to see how these women can work together to lift themselves out of extreme poverty and create a better life for them and their families. Before arriving in Kenya, we had heard stories of these refugees, but seeing their resilience firsthandwas awe-inspiring.”
This year's volunteer group accomplished incredible work that has an impact far beyond our norm of excellence. Our diverse group of volunteers brought together the power of their innovative thinking, making an impact beyond our business's walls. “From application engineers to developers to sales, finance, and procurement, we are utilizing everyone's specialties and talents to work together and contribute to the same great cause: the empowerment of refugee girls in Kenya,” said Yanjun Xia, Cadence sr. principal application engineer.
Read more from this year’s volunteer program from our participants:
“The work RefuShee is doing is astonishing. It is immediate, practical, and sustainable” - Fiona Whelehan, Revenue Analyst, Team4Tech RefuSHE in-country volunteering
“This volunteer experience has been such a rewarding journey and has further developed my own leadership skills. The memories will last a lifetime.” - Yanjun Xia, Sr. Principal Application Engineer, Empowering Refugee Girls
“Together we can make the world a more kind, colorful, and innovative place.” - Peter Shepard, Finance Manager, The Dream Team
“The skills gained and honed during volunteer projects are challenging to teach and are best achieved through experience.” - Amy Harris, Senior Sales Coordinator, When You See a Need, Take the Lead
“...I take with me the reflection that there are people who need you, either on your side or on the other side of the world, and we should help as much as we can.” - Tomas Schweizer, Software Engineer Director, The True Colors of Kenya
“Seeing the enthusiasm, grit, and determination of the women to improve their skills and make a difference in their communities through the support of the e-learning platform was a humbling experience and encouraged us to focus even harder on our objective.” - Saahithi Yammanuru, Application Engineer, She who dreams…
“It was constant learning, where we as a team had to shed our biases and keep an open mind when listening to our RefuSHE contacts...” - Neerja Deshpande, Principal Program Manager, A first of its kind volunteering experience
“In the end, it was all worth it; seeing the refugee girls and women finding the platform informative and useful was extremely humbling and satisfying.” - Claudio Pita, Sr. Principal Application Engineer, Once in a lifetime opportunity with Team4Tech
“It also gave me many life-changing inspirations and allowed me to interact with many impressive people from my own company... This experience will remain deeply engraved in my memory.” - Carsten Heinelt, Business Program Manager, A different way of getting to know Kenya
“These girls and women were our ‘customers’, and as this platform was built for them, we wanted to make it as accessible as possible.” - Florencia Macarena Mercanti, Sr. Purchasing Analyst, Volunteer experience in Nairobi, Kenya
“No suitcases could ever hold the sheer weight of the lessons and memories I brought back with me.” - Niago Leite, Sr. Application Engineer, Inspiration when designing for impact
“Whenever you put yourself in an environment with a lot of ambiguity like this volunteering project, you will come back with a more open and stronger mindset.” - Luiza Pena, Lead Applications Engineer, Volunteering in Kenya: What Do You Need To Make a Positive Impact in the World?
To donate to RefuSHE visit their website or see their Artisan Collective, where you can purchase a scarf. 100% of proceeds from your purchase support RefuSHE's mission to protect, educate, and empower orphaned, unaccompanied, and separated refugee girls in Nairobi, Kenya.