1. Tech and Professional Development for Women in Bangladesh: Mehzabin Chowdhury (YES ’17) held four sessions of the ongoing project Code for Freedom, which provides 25 female students with free lessons in computers, graphic design, presentation skills, public speaking, leadership skills, and English. The ultimate goal of Code for Freedom is to balance the gender ratio of Bangladesh’s workforce, especially within the IT sector. Through these sessions, women are striving for equality, one workshop at a time!
2. Well-Rounded Kids in Cameroon: James Franck Nanfack Chezing (YES ’15) organized a race for 12 children under the age of eight. After the children finished the race, James spoke to them about community service and their roles as Cameroonian citizens. James also led the children in a short lesson on computer skills, and to complete the day with a first-hand community service experience, the children cleaned the street they had raced on. Thanks to James, these kids finished their day with lessons on a little bit of everything: wellness, good citizenry, technology, and volunteerism!
3. Preparation for Model UN in Egypt: Fareeda Khalifa (YES ’15) and Nada Mohamed (YES ’16) were selected to participate in and help organize a Model United Nations (UN) conference taking place in April 2019. Fareeda was selected as the Director of the UN Security Council and Nada as the President of the UN Environmental Programme. Leading up to the conference, they will be conducting sessions on the functions and mechanisms of the councils they lead, and at the conference, they will engage in active debate in English regarding two global cases. Watch out world, young diplomats here ready to take on global issues!
4. Art and Expression for Children with Disabilities in Gaza: In collaboration with The National Center for Community Rehabilitation, 11 alumni implemented the Message for Humanity project, a self-acceptance workshop for 30 disabled children. The workshop focused on four ways to empower the youths: expression, art, music, and theater. Throughout various sessions, children told their life stories through a lens of success, channeled their feelings through drawings, replaced negative with positive energy by way of music therapy, and took part in acting out a play. These alumni show how positive art can lead to positive minds!
5. Peacebuilding and Leadership Training in Kenya: To celebrate the YES 15th anniversary, 17 alumni conducted a leadership training in Nairobi for 30 high school students. Alumni brought together youth from different regions and backgrounds for a domestic exchange program inspired by their YES years and their experience with interfaith and intertribal conflict in Kenya. The participants were trained in leadership, conflict resolution, project management, and volunteerism, with most of the sessions facilitated by YES alumni. They also attended a reception with the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, where they learned about school clubs devoted to peacebuilding, as well as a panel discussion on leadership development led by State Department Alumni and facilitated by the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. These students are ready to take what they’ve learned back home to promote peace, projects, and volunteerism across the country!
6. Project Design Workshop in Kosovo: Malsore Jusufi (YES ’15) organized a workshop to help young alumni gain the skills and knowledge needed to successfully design and implement their own community projects. Ten experienced mentors guided six alumni from the 2017 and 2018 generations in sessions on the fundamentals of project design, using feedback effectively, writing project proposals, building a project team, action planning and implementation strategies, budgeting, and resource acquisition. Participants also heard about the past alumni successes, other young changemakers, and how to develop and present their own project proposals. Participants’ project ideas included developing speech and debate clubs and holding soccer tournaments to bring together members of different ethnic groups. Thanks to this workshop, alumni in Kosovo can now take their project ideas to the next level!
7. Defending Student Rights in Macedonia: Marija Miteva (YES ’18) led a project at the American Corner focused on the rights of high school students. Guided by a manual issued by the Youth Education Forum and the Organizing Bureau of European School Student Unions, participants reviewed 12 rights of high school students, including access to education, participation, and gender equality. They determined that nine of the rights discussed were not upheld in their schools. Two local law students then advised participants on how to create a supportive school community and work with the local Youth Council and municipal government to implement changes. By educating themselves on their rights, these students are on their way to improving the school environment for themselves and their peers!
8. Summer Learning in Pakistan: Anand Kumar (YES ’14) implemented a summer camp in Umerkot attended by sixty students, ages 15-18. Conducted primarily in English, the camp included sessions on team building, decision making, interfaith harmony, respecting diversity, exercising creativity, and selecting a career path. Camp participants visited the Arid Zone Research Institute to speak with a local scientist who showed them different plant species and described how they protect rare species. Students also received a tour to learn about renewable energy facilities, such as windmills and biogas. Thanks to Anand, these teens not only avoided summer boredom, but they met new people and gained some great skills along the way!
9. Volunteer Training in Tanzania: YES ’15: Amne Soud, Biubwa Khamis, and Sharifa Jussa conducted a volunteer training workshop in Mazizini, Zanzibar on August 12. Twenty community members between the ages of 15 and 27 attended the workshop, whose goal was to recruit new volunteers, inform them about the type of volunteer activities alumni do, and explain the importance of volunteerism. We love hearing when alumni share ideas and spread the word about the good of community service!
10. Making English Courses Accessible in West Bank: During his exchange year, Ahmad Hamadneh (YES ’16) participated in the Workshop for Youth Leaders in English Teaching (WYLET) program, which gave him the opportunity to develop his passion for teaching English and equipped him with the tools to do so. Ahmad realized that people in his community care about English education and are interested in developing their children’s English language skills, but many families cannot afford English lessons. With the help of the Red Crescent Society, Ahmad used his WYLET skills to start a free English course for youth between the ages of 13 and 15. Approximately 60 students enrolled in the course that started on July 29. Students were split into two levels, with each level attending a one-and–a-half hour class, three times per week, which will continue until the end of September. Thanks to Ahmad, a gap was bridged to provide community members access to language resources they otherwise could not afford!