YES Programs



Volunteerism Remains the Heart of YES: 15 YES Alumni Projects Making a Difference


1. Two YES Alumni Dze Nadege Flora Ndum (YES ’14) and Damnue Princeley Keku (YES ’14) led a workshop on the importance of volunteering in honor of GYSD for 28 university students in Bamenda, Cameroon. Dze and Damnue presented on the YES program, past YES service projects, the importance of volunteering, and the impact it has on a community. Participants also worked in small groups to design their own community service projects with a set budget. Great job creating a ripple effect by teaching and empowering others to volunteer! 

Albania Sdp
Sports for peace and development program in Albania

2. On April 22, Erigels Mela (YES ’17) led a youth development program for four YES alumni and 14 non-alumni YES volunteers in Tirana, Albania. Using the training he received at the IDEAL Workshop held in Prishtina, Kosovo, in March 2018, Erigels taught participants how sports can be used as a tool for social inclusion and community building, as well as the health benefits of engaging in sports. Participants then played a game of volleyball. We hope to see a spike in sports for development and peace in Albania this year.

3. Nine YES alumni in Tanzania organized a friendly soccer game between the Zanzibar YES Alumni Association (ZAYAA) juvenile soccer team and youths from the Saifo Orphanage center in Melinne. A total of 24 orphans enjoyed playing with the 13 members of ZAYAA’s soccer team. Prior to the game, both teams joined forces to clean the surroundings of the orphanage. In addition to organizing the game and the cleaning, ZAYAA donated food items to the orphanage such as wheat flour, sugar, and bottles of water. They also donated a soccer ball, 13 pairs of socks, and a first aid kit. Filling bellies and filling our hearts – great job ZAYAA epitomizing YES’goals of service to others! 

India Kids
Community service project with youth in India

4. To celebrate GYSD, YES alumni across India worked on community-building  projects from April 20-27 in six cities across India, including Ahmedabad, Anand, Chennai, Pune, Vadodara, and Rajkot. With the idea of taking small steps to improve their home communities, alumni executed 10 inspiring projects, including serving underprivileged children and working to spread the love of books in their communities.

5. YES alumni in Bangladesh partnered with six local karate teachers to organize an event for 106 young women on basic self-defense skills in Sylhet in late April. The participants were trained on how to protect themselves in a situation where they might have to use physical force to ward off unwanted advances or attacks. Following the training, the girls attended a Positive Body Image Session on the topics of body positivity, female leaders, women’s empowerment, and community service. Girl power and community power go hand in hand.

Self-defense training for young women in Bangladesh

6. Djordje Sukalo (YES ’16) organized hip-hop dance lessons for 15 children with special needs in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Djordje, who has been involved in dance since he was very young, decided to organize this activity after realizing that children in this target group had not previously been given the opportunity to take dance classes. After learning the basic components of dance, participants learned and performed simple choreography. Volunteerism dances its way across Bosnia and Herzegovina thanks to alumni like Djorde.

Israel Kid Best
Alumni from the Israel-Arab Communities visit with young refugees

7. In South Tel Aviv, eight YES alumni from Israel-Arab Communities visited an Eritrean and Sudanese refugee daycare center on April 12 and 27 to spend time with young refugees. The alumni brought more than 60 kindergarteners to a nearby park and spent the day playing games and enjoying the outdoors. The YES spirit of volunteerism left another child with a smile!

8. Doctors for Peace is a project that aims at providing primary medical care for Syrian refugees and underprivileged Jordanian families in Jordan. Since starting in medical school, Taj Rajjal (YES ’11) has been volunteering with Doctors for Peace, and he recently assisted at a large scale event along with Farah AlKafaween (YES ’09), Mohamamd AbuNasser (YES ’13), and Mohamed Zazout (YES ’11, Gaza). The alumni and partners at Doctors for Peace collaborated with the Jordan Relief Organization and used funding from an AEIF grant to raise awareness about the dangers of antibiotic abuse. They treated over 250 patients in clinics for internal medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, and general medicine. We’re grateful for these healing hands and giving hearts.

Docs For Peace
Doctors for peace provides medical care for refugees and the underprivileged in Jordan

9. On April 6, Garmai Gayflor (YES ’15) hosted a workshop in Paynesville City, Liberia to encourage young children to participate in volunteerism. More than 25 children between the ages of 5 and 12 attended the workshop where Garmai encouraged them to donate their time and service to their community. Garmai emphasized that establishing the spirit of volunteerism early will lead to co-existence and working together as a community in the future. To demonstrate the impact of what a dedicated group of volunteers can do, the children worked together to clean up their school campus.

10. Maria Taqdee (YES ’05) mobilized a group of volunteers to renovate a local community playground in an underserved and impoverished neighborhood on the outskirts of Karachi, Pakistan. Maria and the group of volunteers cleaned the area, removed graffiti, installed trashcans, repainted walls, and planted shrubbery and flowers in the playground. The group also established a team of volunteers who will be responsible for cleaning and maintaining the space in the future. Maria is growing seeds of peace and happiness through her leadership as a community servant.

Renovating a community playground in Karachi, Pakistan
Neighborhood cleanup in Fatick, Senegal

11. On April 25, Musa Ahmad Mustapha (YES ’17) and YES ’15: Muhammad Saleem Ibrahim and Aliyu Lawal Abdussamad, in collaboration with alumni of the Youth Leadership Program, organized a campaign to educate patients at the General Hospital of Katsina in Nigeria on how to prevent malaria. During the event, the alumni educated more than 50 women on the causes, symptoms, and preventative methods of malaria. YES alumni in Nigeria are kicking out malaria and bringing in volunteerism!

12. Abasse Bassene (YES ’14) led a group of 15 young people in cleaning up a part of their Fatick, Senegal neighborhood he described as “the dirtiest place. People throw their garbage on the ground due to the lack of a dumpsters and lack of a garbage trucks to collect trash.” After successfully cleaning the area last month, Abasse and his fellow volunteers agreed to expand their efforts by seeking support for the installation and maintenance of a dumpster and planting trees – another green service project that will take root in the heart of a community.

13. On April 28, Alieu Moiwa (YES ’14) and Joseph Brima Samba (YES ’15) visited the Kenema Government School, a school with mostly low-income students in Sierra Leone. They met with 210 high school science and math students and provided them with compasses and rulers. In addition, Alieu and Joseph spoke to the group about Global Youth Service Day and the students gave back to their school by picking up trash from their school campus. 

Cooking for the homeless in Suriname

14. In Nickerie, Suriname, Iraisha Shaban (YES ’16) and Julencia Slamet (YES ’17) fed the homeless in celebration of GYSD. In preparation for the event, Iraisha and Julencia cooked a large quantity of nutritious and filling food, and then they brought the food to an area of Nickerie where many homeless congregate. The alumni distributed the food along with juice and bread. These two cooked up the right recipe to give back and genuinely serve others in need.

15. In Mali’s capital, YES alumni partnered with the organization "Youth for Change Mali" to host an English Spelling Bee for high school students. The President of Mali's Alumni Association, Royale Ann Kodio (YES ’16), participated in a Spelling Bee in the U.S. and wanted to bring this activity to her home community. Participants who made it to the final round received English dictionaries. Can you spell “service is fun”? 


This month's prompt is about your host community.

Go to to submit YOUR story about your host community in America.

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