Catching up with Noah Ramos
(In his own words)
How did you get involved in the projects?
When I was seven years old I took my first trip to East Africa. This powerful experience changed my perception of myself and the world. When I saw children playing soccer with an old deflated ball, I realized that many things I took for granted were not available to children my own age. This realization motivated me to do something to help these children.
Once I returned to the United States, I launched a book and ball drive at my school with plans to bring the donations back to the kids in Africa. My classmates and teachers donated their lightly used books and soccer balls. Over the next ten years, I have collected over 1000 books, over 40 soccer balls, and six soccer nets. After seeing the joy on the children’s faces I knew I had to continue my efforts. At this moment it occurred to me how good it felt to give.
Since then, I have taken four more trips to East Africa bringing study guides, school supplies, and story books in Swahili, installed bathrooms and this year solar panels to power 8 classrooms and 11 offices. With the help of my parents, I have formed a non-profit organization called, Noah’s Books and Balls for Africa (www.noahsbooksandballsforafrica). Our non-profit has expanded beyond bringing books and balls, we are also collecting financial donations that will be used to improve the Misigyo Primary School buildings.
The experience of bringing needed supplies to these remote village schools has taught me that it is better to give than receive. I have also learned to appreciate and value everything I have including my ability to help others. The impact of this experience has changed my view of the world because I realized that I can make a difference.
How has the community work and the Africa Foundation impacted you?
The biggest impact my project has had on me is that it has instilled the lesson in me that it is better to give than to receive. There is such a great need in Africa, and through projects like mine, a difference is being made. Now when I go back and visit the school, I feel as though it’s a home away from home due to being greeted by familiar faces once again. Its indescribably fulfilling to hear the children read speeches to me in English, as I can really see the positive effect my project is having. Also, at Misigyo, their soccer team has gone to compete in the city and the school itself has gotten the award for the most improved school in the district. Identifying the needs of the school is key so progress can be made. A huge thanks to the Africa Foundation for identifying the needs, giving me updates, and ultimately making sure the new improvements at the school are effectively installed. All this progress and incredible new opportunities are in large part thanks to the change Noah’s Books and Balls is having on the Misigyo School.