The holidays are now over and YES alumni celebrated with their communities all around the world. Here is a throwback to how YES alumni from Pakistan and Cameroon enjoyed the holiday season.
Share-a-Bear Service Project
YES alumni Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, and Nowshera reached out to the community and celebrated Christmas with the Christian population and carried out six projects. The alumni celebrated the occasion with focus on spreading joy and happiness among the children as well as presenting them with gifts. The children presented songs, skits and dramas in accordance with Christmas as well as showed their happiness through a couple of dances. The children also participated in some coloring activities by drawing Christmas related drawings.
Towards the end of the day, a proper Christmas day prayer was conducted by the Pastor of the Church. The alumni presented children with gifts and presents which brightened up their day. Overall, the project was a great success and widely appreciated by the Church staff, Christian community and the alumni group members. A total of 250 children participated in the projects along with 18 YES alumni.
By Zimran Sabir (YES 2012-2013, Pakistan, hosted by FLAG in Marion, NC)
23rd Dec, 2018 – YES Alumni Pakistan conducted a one day project at Pur Fazal Kaliseya Church in Nowshera to celebrate the true spirit of Christmas with underprivileged Christian students. The YES Alumni kicked off the event with an energetic and informative session on “Interfaith Harmony” in which the participants were taught about the importance of respecting each other’s differences and loving every human being on this planet regardless of their religion, race and culture. The audience was given practical examples on the said topic to ensure maximum understanding by the participants.
The participants made Christmas and New Year cards within their groups. These cards will be presented to the church body by the students on the 25th of December wishing the whole church a very happy New Year and to share the message of love and care towards them.
The students also performed a short skit in front of the audience to present a visual example of the benefits of education and interfaith harmony among all human beings. They loved the skit and gave a very positive feedback. The YES Alumni crew ended the event with a Christmas cake cutting ceremony. The church administration and the Pastor were impressed by the YES Alumni Network's initiative and performance. They shared their kind words and appreciated the team on pulling off such a successful event.
‘Tis the Season of Love for YES Alumni Cameroon
By Daize Merville (YES 2017-2018, Cameroon, Hosted by PAX in Bluffton, IN)
Christmas is celebrated worldwide by billions of people in many different ways. This is usually the busiest time of the year and the happiest for many little children.
During my exchange year, I got a taste of how American celebrates Christmas. I spent a lot of quality time with my host family; decorating the Christmas tree, shopping and parcelling gifts for Christmas. To top it all, I was really inspired by the way my local church (Hope Missionaries) made gift shoe boxes to send to children around the world. This act got me thinking how I could give back to my community in Cameroon at the end of my exchange year.
As December approached, all I could think of was the shoe boxes my host church made for children around the world. Then, I started preparing the children in my local church (Missionary for Christ International) to get into the Christmas spirit. We Sunday school teachers taught the kids Christmas songs, rhymes, choreography and even made a play on the importance of Christmas. As Christmas drew closer, everything was set, but something was missing: no Christmas shoe boxes!
Thanks to YES alumni in Cameroon, we immediately got funds to get these children Christmas gifts. In the gifts bags were toys, candies, snacks and even water bottles for school. Thanks to some of my YES alumni friends who helped prepare the surprise for these kids. Their names are:
Tina Ngeh Ngongfi (YES 2017 - 2018, Cameroon, hosted by AYUSA in Middleton, ID)
Marilyn Akawung Abangwaoh (YES 2017 - 2018, Cameroon, hosted by YFU in Clyde, MI)
Julienne Ajangbide Ahande (YES 2017 - 2018, Cameroon, hosted by CIEE in Franklin, IN)
On the 23rd of December (day of our event), the children appeared beautifully in Christmas colors, you could get a series of “Wow” and “Nice” from every corner. In addition, we invited Father Christmas, they kids were super excited and all ran to hug him.
The children are really brilliant. They did their presentations excellently, even above their parents' expectations. At the end of the event, more than 80 children received gift packages. They were really happy, some even started playing with the toys immediately when they got them.
We got lots of appreciation from the church and surrounding community. Above all, the children were so happy and felt loved. But I think I was the happiest because my Christmas wish came True!!!