YES Programs



YES Alumni Grant: Beira Youth Connect

A group of people standing around a table with a sign "I support quality education" filling in paper forms

By Izandra Milena Carlos (YES 2020-2021, Mozambique, placed virtually by CIEE in Pinckney, MI)

Grantee Izandra at a plant base holding a green box and smiling

My name is Izandra from Mozambique, and my engagement with the YES program took an unexpected turn as the COVID-19 pandemic placed me in a virtual exchange year. However, the impact of the YES program on my life is so profound that I often find myself forgetting that I participated in a virtual setting.

In December 2022, I was selected to participate in the YES Alumni Africa Region Changemakers Workshop, a project management training in Giza, Egypt. It provided an excellent platform for networking and exchanging experiences with alumni from over 14 countries across Africa. After months of brainstorming and hard work, I applied for a YES Alumni Grant to implement Beira Youth Connect. The event brought 70 potential youth leaders, ages 18 to 25, together in my home city of Beira.

The conference was designed to nurture the untapped potential of youth in our community by imparting essential skills in leadership, entrepreneurship, and promoting actions for a more sustainable world. Our efforts were intentionally aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Participants posing with conference Instagram frame

A highlight of the conference was a site visit that allowed participants to explore the largest urban park in Africa, which is located in Beira, consolidating the session on Sustainable Cities and Climate Action.

It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to work towards the development of my community, especially focusing on empowering youth. Youth are the key to shaping future generations.

I extend my heartfelt thanks to the YES program and the U.S. Department of State for providing me with this and many other opportunities. Their support has been instrumental in my journey towards community development and empowerment.