Last month, fourteen Egyptian YES alumni and approximately 100 volunteers conducted a neighborhood clean up and tree planting activity in collaboration with several volunteer groups and sponsors. Local partners included: Qaitbay Monuments Department, Archinos Architecture Company, Manshiet Nasser District Plantation, the Cairo Cleaning and Beautification Organization, and 38 exchange students from 12 different countries being hosted in Egypt. Having learned so much about America via the volunteer service they conducted during their YES year, the YES alumni knew that participating in community service would be a great way for the exchange students to learn about their new host community and make new friends.
The volunteers also took part in team-building activities facilitated by Farah Moussa (YES ’14), who attended a YES alumni Training of Trainers workshop last year and has been putting her skills to use training alumni and community members. Participants worked in six groups, starting with the clean-up then moving on to tree planting. Masks, gloves and cleaning tools were distributed to each of the groups. At the end of the day, the local children performed a Zomba dance and the YES alumni held a session to evaluate the activities and get feedback from participants. The volunteers commented that they were happy to serve the community and appreciated that local residents supported their activities.