In October, the YES alumni community held a number of fun, unique projects.
A Gratifying Grant Project: Women’s Vocational Training in Liberia
Massolian Fahnbulleh (YES ’12) and Emmanuel Godfrey (YES ’13) launched the YES Alumni Grant project Women’s Self Reliance Initiative (WORSI). WORSI aims to promote gender equality by providing young women with the vocational skills training needed to join the workforce. In the first phase of the project, 40 young women between the ages of 14 and 25 learned about baking and cosmetology. The opening ceremony took place at the U.S. Embassy’s American Center. (See photo above.)
A Meaningful Mental Health Seminar: Commemorating World Mental Health Day in Tanzania
YES ’09: Nadra Salim and Aisha Mohammed, Maryam Suleiman (YES ’15), Nuru Sijali (YES ’10), and Adam Mbuya (YES ’13) commemorated World Mental Health Day by organizing a mental health awareness seminar. The event took place at Kisauna hospital, and over 50 mothers and children attended. Alumni encouraged parents to pay attention to signs like mood, behavioral changes, and difficulties concentrating, and not to mistake these symptoms for stubbornness or misbehavior. They also stressed the importance of communication, developing a supportive and understanding relationship, and spending quality time with their children.
A Clever Campaign against Smoking: “Eat Apples; Don’t Smoke” in Macedonia
Vesa Sherifi (YES ’18), a medical student, led a presentation about the harmful effects of smoking for 14 students ages 15 to 16. Following the presentation, Vesa distributed apples to participants and challenged them to go out and convince as many people as they could in 40 minutes to exchange their cigarettes for apples. Participants approached smokers and, using tactics such as explaining the harmful effects of smoking and the benefits of consuming apples, convinced them to make an exchange. In the end, participants shared information with more than 75 people and exchanged all their apples for 60 cigarettes, which they threw away, of course!
Creating Lifelong Leaders: Changemakers Camp in South Africa
Zoe Thomas (YES ’14), Nicolette Lau (YES ’17), and fellow volunteers implemented a YES 15th anniversary project called Living Together in the Rainbow Nation, a leadership camp for 15 high school students from three diverse, underserved communities in KwaZulu Natal, Pretoria, and Johannesburg. The students spent the week learning about each other’s cultures and communities, learning how to develop and promote changemaking projects within their communities, and visiting community-based organizations. The alumni facilitated sessions on changemaking projects and intercultural learning. The participants also took part in a community service project, helping to paint and refurbish a local school that experienced a major fire several years ago and was never fully restored. Over 70 community members, including parents, teachers, and students, participated in the service project. When the participants return home, they will implement their own projects within their communities and schools. Alumni in each region will serve as mentors, assisting them with managing the projects effectively.
A Masterful Use of Movies: Using Cinema to Combat Bullying in Gaza
Abdulqader Shatali (YES ’12), Abdallah Mohanna (YES ’16), and YES ’15: Marah Almallah and Yahya Ashour launched a new program called YES Inspirational Cinema. The program uses movies to raise awareness among ACCESS students about bullying. On October 7, the alumni gathered at the local YMCA with ACCESS students from Gaza City and northern Gaza. After introducing the YES program, alumni showed the 2017 movie Wonder, which is about a child with an abnormal facial structure and the difficulties he faced from being bullied. After the movie, the alumni separated participants into four groups for a post-movie discussion about how bullying can negatively affect the victim throughout his/her life. On October 10, the alumni repeated the activity with another group of ACCESS students from the central and southern regions of the Gaza Strip. In total, approximately 25 ACCESS students participated in the program.