Amani Liberia’s Intern Alexis featured in Chattanooga’s Chatter

Alexis Decosimo was an intern at Amani Liberia in the spring of 2012. A month into the internship, Alexis helped Amani leaders start the Amani Girls Club.

The following are excerpts from an article written about Alexis and her experiences by Chatter‘s Merrell McGinness in June 30, 2012.

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In Africa, Alexis worked with an organization called Amani […]. Within a month of arriving, director Becky Chinchen — also a Chattanooga native — asked Alexis to help launch a girls’ club. Its purpose is to educate and give a voice to young women whose job prospects are little more than prostitution. Alexis wrote the curriculum and trained five staff members who still check in with her daily via email.

While she’s excited about the future of the program, she describes her desire to work in Third World countries as somewhat selfish.

“I know people in Chattanooga — and all over the Untied States — who never leave their homes or family, and they do so much more than me because they are making sacrifices for their families and putting them first,” she explains. “I’m putting my family through a lot by going to these different countries, but it’s a passion that I’m following and something that I can’t ignore.”

While she spent four months in the tiny African village of Yekepa helping launch a girls’ club that will affect hundreds of women, she resists the stereotype of a privileged white woman swooping in to save the day.

“I’m uncomfortable with the idea that I was doing great things” she says by phone, wrapping up the last leg of her five-month journey in London. “To me I’m learning. I no longer feel like I’m giving back; I feel like I have a passion for learning. If I buy into the idea that I’m saving someone then I’m putting the people I work with at a lower level than myself and it’s not like that.”

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McGinness, Merell. 2012. “Trail Blazer.” Chatter, June 30. http://www.chatterchattanooga.com/news/2012/jun/30/trail-blazer/ (July 20, 2012).

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