By Marzaan Taiyaba Mirza (YES 2016-2017, Bangladesh, placed with PAX in Flagstaff, AZ)
The year I spent in the U.S. has definitely made me into the person I am today. The exchange pushed me to develop independence, passion, and resilience that I didn’t know I had. The biggest lesson I learned was to take on new challenges and to not fear failure.
Since becoming an alumni back in 2017, I have gotten the chance to be a part of multiple projects such as "Mold The Clay" (a workshop teaching children about "Good Touch" and "Bad Touch"), "Medical Camp for Flood Victims" (MCFV), "Voice For Change," and others. I have also coordinated my own projects, such as "Project Ramadan 5.0."
My most memorable project to date has been publishing the YES Alumni Bangladesh Newsletter along with fellow alumna Raisona Alam (YES 2018-19). We started discussing the idea of publishing the newsletter when we joined the YES Alumni Bangladesh Executive Committee. With the ongoing pandemic, we thought this was the perfect way to boost morale and engage with the YES Bangladesh community. We have both been very passionate about this project from the start and have worked diligently to perfect the newsletter, from editing its segments to designing the layout. Please check out the upcoming November edition of our newsletter!
In addition to being the editor of the newsletter and a first-year economics student at BRAC University, I am also the publications officer of the YES Alumni Bangladesh Executive Committee. I recently helped coordinate the International Youth Day 2020 event, where I ensured clear communication between the global core team and the Bangladeshi participants, assisted in setting agendas, and attended core team meetings.
Outside of the YES community, I'm also a country coordinator of the We Are Youth (WAY) Foundation, India. The WAY Foundation is a youth-led organization that was established in 2013. Over the past seven years, WAY has engaged thousands of young people through its various youth-centric programs, which aim to develop active citizenship and life skills and amplify youth voices.
In my experience of community service, the biggest impact I've seen is the empathy that people start to develop towards others thanks to the projects. This change inspires me to keep taking part in projects that help some part of the world, no matter how little it is, to become a bit more kind and empathetic.
Since coming back from the United States, I have tried to inspire my peers and loved ones to seize opportunities even if they are nervous of the outcome, whether that means participating in a competition or even applying for the YES program! Thank you to the YES program and the U.S. Department of State for such a life-changing and inspiring experience.