“I am always looking for opportunities to push the boundaries of what I know to help me continue to expand my horizons.”
Name: Maya Haria
Home Country: United Kingdom
Education: University of Warwick
Passions and Interests: Field hockey, traveling, and international development
Transformational Experience: Dominican Republic: Building a Sustainable World™
Making an Impact: Raised $8,000 and helped to start a micro-enterprise program based on small-scale cacao plantations in the Dominican Republic
Most people who plant seedlings in the ground have modest hopes for their garden: a lovely view, perhaps, or even some vegetables to use for homemade recipes. And while Maya Haria is modest about her accomplishments, her ambitions and achievements are anything but.
Her goal? To raise $8,000 to fund a cacao plantation project in the Dominican Republic.
$8,000 is no small amount of change, so Maya put a plan in place to raise all the money she needed to fund the project, with the help of others involved. She held bake sales. She raised money through online, charitable giving pages. And she even encouraged family and friends to pitch in what they could. In the end, she raised the funds to get her cacao project off the ground.
The end result? Several greenhouses constructed from foundation to ceiling, and two completed cacao plantations, contributing to a total of 10,000 cacao plants.
Maya’s journey began when she first attend the Building a Sustainable World™ program through GLA in the DR back in 2012. She selected this program not only for its focus on environmental conservation, but also for its commitment to the people in these Dominican communities.
One of the main reasons I chose my GLA program was the focus on sustainability, and being able to be a part of projects and initiatives that are designed to be sustainable means that every time you help someone, you know that you aren’t just helping one person. You are starting something that will continue to impact the lives of them, their families and the people around them.”
Along the way, something changed. While her initial focus was on sustainability, she realized she was much in “a much better position to pinpoint” problems and solutions at the macro level – looking at the scale of the problem for a distance to find solutions that are sensible and effective over the long-term. Neither Maya nor her parents had expected such a dramatic shift in her viewpoint.
Prior to my first GLA trip, I think my parents underestimated the impact that it would have on me and on the next few years of my life. Having returned to the Dominican Republic for two more summers, they have definitely seen the impact that my GLA program has had on my life, and how it has influenced the direction that I have chosen to take… My program choice definitely expanded my understanding and passion for international development. I am now studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and am interested at looking at development from the point of view of policy-making and economic development, building on the experience that I have had through my GLA program and with 7 Elements.”
Maya decided on the cacao plantation project because it was something that could be replicated by others. This pilot project will allow local Dominicans to profit off of these cacao plants over the long term, and she was involved from the initial planning stages to the final construction. Maya plans for more in the future.
Her plans for the future are not set in stone yet, but she’s committed to doing something meaningful with her time and energy now that she’s had a taste of what these kinds of projects can mean to people in-need. She said of her future goals:
Ideally I would like to have influence at a macro level, whether it be related to policy-making or using my skills to have a strong involvement in the non-profit side of the career path that I choose to pursue.”
Maya is currently attending the University of Warwick, where she is on a committee that organized a sports and activities day for 200 disabled children, and supports ‘Mind’, a mental health charity.
Program Maya attended:
Curious about exploring your own GLA adventure? Check these out:
- GLA Dominican Republic: Building a Sustainable World™
- GLA Dominican Republic: Global Health Initiative™
- GLA Dominican Republic: Beachside Service Adventure
- GLA Dominican Republic: Spring Break Service Adventure