By Molly Schiff
In an effort to fund a service trip with Saha Global to Ghana, Trevon Gordon ’17 is selling raffle tickets for two tickets to the Wiz Khalifa concert on Nov. 16 at New York City’s Webster Hall. For five dollars each, students can purchase tickets in the Usdan University Center through Sunday, Nov. 9, when the drawing will take place.
Saha Global, a nonprofit founded in 2008 by two graduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, works to provide Northern Ghanaian villages with clean water and electricity. The organization focuses on training women in entrepreneurship so that once the student fellows’ program ends, they can continue to successfully run the businesses. Through this raffle and other fundraising efforts, Gordon hopes to raise $3,500 in order to cover basic living expenses and some of the materials for a start-up business as a member of Saha Global’s Leadership Training Program, with which he recently accepted a fellowship.
Gordon explained how the start-up program works.
“We go there with our team and we start the business, and the people in the community essentially take over,” Gordon said. “But we’re responsible for making sure they’re set up.”
The Global Leadership Program consists of teams of young adults who apply to spend three weeks in Ghana during the fall, winter, or summer. Fellows begin their time with extensive training from program staff. The teams then introduce their businesses to the communities in which they will be working, helping the communities gain an understanding of the concept as well as the economic, social, and health-related benefits of the business. Once they have set the business up, the team provides women with entrepreneurship training in order to keep the business running. Saha Global stays in contact with and assists the business for five years following its founding.
Gordon will spend three weeks in Ghana in December and January, working to set up a solar energy business in a village. So far, the solar businesses that have been established in the region generate enough revenue both to maintain the business and to provide a small source of income for the Ghanaian men and woman who run the businesses’ operations once the Saha fellows return to the United States. Seventy-one clean water and five solar energy businesses have been launched since the organization’s inception, all of which are still fully operational.
In addition to help from his friends, to whom he gives much credit for his success, Gordon stated that he has received guidance and support from Director of the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Makaela Kingsley.
Kingsley spoke to the relevance of Gordon’s endeavor.
“[Gordon] is interested in entrepreneurship and health, so I think that Saha will be a tremendous experiential learning opportunity for him,” Kingsley said. “Fundraising for his fellowship is a challenging component, but the process of running a crowd-funding campaign and painstakingly applying for grants will be a huge learning experience for him as well. I hope that fellow students will support Trey’s efforts.”
Max Cembalest ’18 finds Gordon’s efforts inspiring.
“I’m proud to go to a school where students are driven to better the world around them,” Cembalest said. “I think he’s setting a good example to other students by raising money in a fun way and putting it to an excellent cause.”
The raffle is one of many fundraisers that Gordon plans to hold in order to raise the money required to participate in the program. Gordon plans to hold bake sales and other small fundraisers throughout the semester. Additionally, he has set up a CrowdRise fundraising page.
While Gordon has modest expectations, he has high hopes for ticket sales over the next few days.
“I want to sell, at the very least, 20 tickets, and I’m being really optimistic, but I hope to sell 100 tickets by Sunday,” Gordon said.