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Ripples of change: Small ways to make a big difference with Amit

Ripples of change: Small ways to make a big difference with Amit

Creating a more sustainable world starts with seemingly small actions that create ripples of awareness, inspiration, and change. Like tossing a pebble into water, a small action makes an impact that spreads far beyond its origin point.

Amit, a Procurement Specialist in the EF Education First Panama City office, is spreading sustainability awareness and making ripples of change in his community. He builds tours for student travelers and started his local chapter of the EF Green Team, a staff collective focused on inspiring eco-conscious habits at EF and beyond. His goal is not to save the world; his goal is to show people the small changes they can make in their lives and their communities that add up to a big impact.

Raised in Portugal by a mother from India and a father from Mozambique, Amit first heard about EF while living in Barcelona. A friend there worked for an EF language school in England and mentioned it a few times. Amit did not think much about it until he moved to Panama in 2017 (after stints in Colorado, Abu Dhabi, and Nigeria). The newly opened EF Panama office was hiring, and Amit asked his old friend if it was the same company she liked so much. When she said it was, he applied.

Amit started at EF Educational Tours in 2018 producing travel experiences for students in Belize, Dominican Republic, Colombia, and, of course, Panama. He began his environmental efforts soon after arriving, bringing a container to the EF Panama office to collect and recycle cans.

“I got nervous because I was new,” he remembers. “But because this is such a small office, if you have an idea, you can just bring it up. It helped that EF is on the same page about sustainability.”

Today, the Panama office has separate, large bins for recycling cans, paper, glass, and plastics that keep waste out of landfills. More importantly, the recycling program opens team members' eyes to how much trash they generate every day.

Amit also organizes beach cleanups for students, teachers, and colleagues with local NGO Ramsar-CREHO, with whom EF has a long-standing partnership. Seeing what human garbage does to beautiful Panamanian beaches inspires participants to reconsider their environmental footprints.

Whenever he can, Amit orchestrates local mangrove reforestation projects for his officemates, as well as students traveling on EF Educational Tours’ STEM Tours, experiential learning trips designed for students interested in STEM. The work occurs in an area designated for EF by Panama’s Ministry of Environment. However, the sounds of chainsaws echo through the same mangrove forest where they plant propagules, leaving participants with a deeper understanding of the complex challenges in addressing climate change. Most importantly, it leaves them with greater awareness of how much their efforts are needed.

Amit is also the leader of the Panamanian chapter of EF Cares, EF’s global volunteer program for staff. The EF Cares team in Panama has donated school supplies to students in remote Panamanian villages along the Colombian border. They have also brought toys, clothes, and sanitary supplies to an indigenous community three hours outside Panama City. They organize clothing and food drives for local people in need. Like the beach cleanups, recycling program, and reforestation projects, Amit believes the experience leads donors to reevaluate their priorities.

“We’re not going to completely change the world,” Amit notes. “But whenever we do these events, it wakes up something in people. I hope that future generations, and even the current ones, start changing their lives little by little. Even the smallest thing, it’s going to help.