YES alumni always have many reasons to organize activities that support the health and wellbeing of the environment and their fellow community members, especially in the last few months. Here are eight such projects – organized to celebrate Global Youth Service Day (GYSD), Ramadan, Earth Day as well as promote the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
1) Throughout April, 23 alumni in Tanzania fundraised and organized Ramadan charity events and iftar dinners in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar City. In Zanzibar, alumni spent a day at the Assalam Orphans Center, preparing and enjoying an iftar dinner with 56 orphans. Alumni also donated items, including food, clothing, school supplies, and household goods. In Dar es Salaam, alumni and 14 non-alumni volunteers gathered at another orphanage, which is home to over 120 children, and they helped clean the orphanage, spent time with the children, and enjoyed an iftar dinner to break their daily fast. (Photo above)
2) In May, Zivinice City Representative Elma Focic ’20 organized an environmental project called Birds Make Us Smile, Let Them Live For A While with four elderly members of the Active Aging Network in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The group built birdhouses and installed them in the Zivinice rainforest. Zivinice is the only city in Bosnia and Herzegovina that’s home to seven of the ten types of protected species of woodpeckers. The goal of the project was to raise environmental awareness and protect birds in the community. (Photo left)
3) Participants of the 2020 Egypt YES Alumni Changemakers Workshop have implemented follow-on projects focused on the environment and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In Cairo, 11 alumni held a workshop for 20 primary school students, and, in Giza, ten alumni implemented a similar workshop for 120 Boy Scouts. The workshops aimed to create young changemakers by raising awareness of global environmental issues, SDGs, and pressing local issues, such as recycling and the issue of stray dogs.
4) Khaled Zaqout ’18, a medical student Al Azhar University and certified first aid trainer organized a first aid training for seven alumni in Gaza City. Participants were introduced to the basics of first aid followed by a training on CPR and maintaining body temperature. Participants practiced administering CPR in mock emergency scenarios. Following this training, two alumni participants from the first training assisted Khaled in conducting a second event, a first aid training for 36 English Access Microscholarship program students. (Photo below)
5) To mark Earth Day, three alumni and 15 Peace Corps Volunteers in North Macedonia organized a cleanup around Vardar River, which borders Skopje Park. The volunteer team’s aim was to encourage public awareness and do something positive for the environment. The cleanup team removed fifteen large bags of trash, which were properly disposed of and left a much cleaner river.
6) In Suriname, eight alumni held two events at an orphanage and an elementary school in Nickerie to teach 25 students, ages five to 12, the importance of growing, maintaining, and harvesting vegetables. At each location, the alumni and participants started by clearing away weeds, dead plants, and overgrown areas. The alumni then gave short demonstrations on how to plant and care for several easy to grow, nutritious vegetables, including eggplant, spinach, and peppers. (Photo right)
7) In April, Ivania Ananta ’17 led the project Donate with Us in Banjarmasin, Indonesia. Ivania, with the help of local volunteers, solicited donations from community members to purchase food for those in need. After three days of fundraising, they used the funds to buy food for 90 packages of rice and noodles. The group then drove around the community distributing the packages. Check out this project video.
8) In celebration of Global Youth Service Day, Faruque Ratul ’10 and Sabrina Khan ’20 hosted the fourth edition of the project Mould the Clay for 40 high school students in Feni, Bangladesh. The project series provides students, ages 12 to 16, lessons on health, safety, hygiene, environmental protection, leadership, and teamwork in a fun, interactive way. At the April event, students were taught about effective communication, seeking counseling from teachers and professionals, personal space, and journaling for mental health. The alumni also demonstrated effective hand-washing techniques, and Sabrina spoke about menstrual and reproductive health. Finally, the alumni demonstrated how to keep classrooms clean and hygienic and advised students to plant trees for the health of the environment. Rounding out the event with the final theme of leadership and teamwork, students discussed the qualities of good leaders. (Photo below)
Elma Focic (YES 2019-2020, Bosnia and Herzegovina, placed by ASSE in Belleville, IL)
Khaled Zaqout (YES 2017-2018, Gaza, placed by YFU USA in Eden Prairie, MN)
Ivania Ananta (YES 2016-2017, Indonesia, placed by PAX in Princeton, LA)
Faruque Ratul (YES 2009-2010, Bangladesh, placed by Ayusa in Laveen, AZ)
Sabrina Khan (YES 2019-2020, Bangladesh, placed by Ayusa in Eugene, OR)