My name is Pearl Penumaka and I am the 2017-2018 volunteer with Phiren Amenca, through the Young Adults in Global Mission program of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. I was born in India and grew up in California, with a passion for books, traveling, cultural exchange and social justice.
Growing up in an Indian-American immigrant family, there was often a lot of pressure to follow specific career paths and higher education to achieve success. My family allowed me the freedom to pursue some different paths – creative and intellectual studies and hobbies. My mother told me, “whatever you do in this life, make sure that you are helping people.” After working in the non-profit sector in the United States for a few years, I decided to serve as a volunteer for this year to experience a deeper understanding of life in service to others, and life in pursuit of justice and change.
Phiren Amenca sees volunteerism as a powerful tool of social change. In the brief time I have been here, I can see that the dialogues about Roma rights and remembrance, dialogue between other cultures, and intentional and education volunteer programs will be life-changing and impactful. I look forward to being in service to this community and learning more about how the Phiren Amenca is active in the world to affect positive and sustainable change and empowerment.