Global Impact: From Ashes to Aspiration
January 15, 2013 | Apple Delight
By Blake Weaver
I recently had an opportunity to give a five minute pitch of our organization to 250 local business leaders. I was very excited to introduce NICS/Oasis to this group. As I prepared the outline of my “elevator” speech, I put together some quick facts about the ministry in hopes to “wow” the audience. In fact, I initially focused the outline on some pretty impressive numbers, such as the amount of schools within our network, our growth rate, the quantity of our teaching staff, the diversity of our student body, etc. I was convinced that the audience would simply be blown away by our accomplishments. After all, these were business leaders, so I figured that they would appreciate the successfulness of our business model. This would really convey global impact, right?
Not long into my preparation, I realized that my outline was missing the heart and soul of our organization. You see, our success cannot solely be measured with numbers because the real success of our organization lies within classrooms across the world. As a graduate of a NICS school, I am well aware of this within my heart. However, it can be challenging to articulate true global impact within a five minute time period. Regardless of the difficulty of this task, I knew that I had to at least attempt to describe what is happening each day at our schools around the world.
As I contemplated just how I might bottle this up and share it with the audience, I was reminded of a recent success story from one of our schools in Central Asia. In a nutshell, the story encompassed how the school provided aspiration to five students that came from the “ashes” of a worn-torn country. Not only was the story true, but it absolutely conveyed our organization’s influence globally. So, I altered my outline, made this story the focal point of my presentation, and can almost guarantee that the audience remembered more about the story than the quick facts that I presented.
In an effort to once again convey the global impact of this organization, I would like to share another brief story. This one involves a recent graduate named Narges. Here’s what she has to say about her experience at an Oasis School:
I am Narges, a former student at the International School of Kabul. ISK, a community built based on love and respect for others has played a major role in my education and my ability to study in America. ISK has teachers who embrace students like a big family, and the staff work together to provide the best for the students. ISK is the best school in Afghanistan.
I clearly remember my first day at ISK as a fourth grader. I was not sure if I would be able to speak in another language other than my mother language. It was hard, but my teachers were willing to help in different ways, brought me to a level to where now, I speak English fluently. It is amazing how ISK teachers put so much effort into helping their students.
ISK is the only school in Afghanistan where an Afghan can achieve high academics and also participate in different activities. Unlike many other schools in Afghanistan, ISK provides after school activities such as sports, music, dance, and drama. Additionally, ISK has played a major role in the development of future Afghan leaders. Through ISK, young Afghan students have learned to be appreciative of other tribes, religions, and nationalities. A school like ISK is strongly needed for raising young Afghan leaders who will take lead of the country one day. It is essential to have high education to be able to make a change in Afghanistan and the only way is through ISK. ISK has not just provided education for the Afghans and many other nationalities, but it has given the people the ability to think in different ways. ISK has given the Afghans the dream of rebuilding Afghanistan.
Note: Narges represented ISK and Afghanistan at the 2011 International Emerging Leaders Conference in Richmond, VA. Her educational goals involve securing a law degree in order to improve the legal system and judiciary in Afghanistan.
Narges` story represents hope. It’s about hope for Narges, and it’s about hope for her country. Needless to say, ISK is a beacon of hope for the country of Afghanistan.
The point of this story, as well as my speech to those business leaders, is not that we are a great organization. Sure, we love to share our story, and we do think it’s great. However, our story is about the lives of the students that are being eternally impacted through this organization. God has entrusted us as stewards of His work through each of our schools, and He is the one that provides aspiration from ashes. That’s our elevator speech.