The CCI 2016-2017 cohort departed only three months ago in May 2017, but that hasn’t stopped these eager alumni from continuing to thrive and challenge themselves. Here are just a few examples of what the CCI Program’s newest alumni have already accomplished.
Moises Gomez (Colombia, Northern Virginia Community College)
Moises studied Media at his host college in Virginia, and as a talented photographer he frequently contributed photos to the college’s newspaper and arts magazines. Now back in his home country, Moises has achieved recognition for his talents. His photos “Out of sight, out of mind” and “Fighting for a dream” were both selected as finalists for the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) photo contest. The theme for the contest was Safe Youth at Work. Moises will be traveling to Singapore to attend the awards ceremony where he will also have the opportunity to discuss working conditions for youth in Colombia. Moises says the support he received in the CCI Program “motivated me to seek more opportunities and to find new ways to help my community through my art.”
Olivia Aboui (Cote d’Ivoire, Scottsdale Community College)
Since returning to Cote d’Ivoire, Olivia has made strides professionally and has become a director of communications at a firm in Abijan. In addition to her new and demanding job position, Olivia has also taken the time to create a nonprofit organization that helps sex workers in Abijan. Olivia received funding and mentorship from an Arizona-based research organization to help her create effective outreach programs for these women.
Hermes Adje (Cote d’Ivoire, Santa Rosa Junior College)
As an alumni, Hermes is making moves professionally, is giving back to his community, and is spreading the word about the benefits of international exchange. In his professional life, Hermes is opening his own creative agency and recently had the opportunity to present about 3-D printing in front of American officials visiting Cote d’Ivoire from Washington. Hermes also gives back to his local community by providing free computer literacy training courses and volunteering at the Andrew Young Center. Just a few weeks ago, Hermes and fellow CCI alumnus Venance Agohi traveled to Bouake to speak about the CCI Program. Over 130 students attended Hermes and Venance’s session.
Moutaz Thabet (Egypt, Kirkwood Community College)
One of Moutaz’s personal goals during the CCI Program was to enhance his English language proficiency enough to become an English-Arabic interpreter. As a CCI alumni he is now helping to provide access to education to people around the world by volunteering with the Coursera Global Translator Community to help translate course videos from English to Arabic, and vice versa. Moutaz’s dedication to academics also resulted in being offered admission to three different postgraduate programs which will enable him to learn more about how to manage major issues and challenges facing his industry.
Asma Parveen Majeeth (India, College of DuPage)
Since departing Glen Ellyn, Illinois and returning to India, Asma has reached out to her local community in a variety of ways. She has facilitated learning activities for local children and has promoted physical activity and sports in children’s homes. Asma has also taken the first steps to implement the action plan she developed while in the CCI Program, a plan to empower women in her local community. Recently, Asma gave a guest lecture to a group of 60 women in her college to help motivate them to pursue their goals. Asma says, “I want to eradicate the cliché that women cannot do anything more than get married and have kids, that they can’t not follow her hearts and fulfill their desires.”
Kgothatso Mohale and Neo Makgetla (South Africa, Scottsdale Community College)
Kgothatso and Neo both studied Media at Scottsdale Community College. Inspired by their studies in the United States, as CCI alumni KG and Neo are working to inspire and enable youth in South Africa to pursue careers or studies in media fields. Kgothatso and Neo have been speaking at local about the significance of education, and have been promoting career and academic options in media related fields to young people in their community.
Tumelo Mosweu (South Africa, Bunker Hill Community College)
After leaving Boston, Tumelo quickly got to work building his own education-focused NGO. So far, he has 10 students and three programs in the pipe lines. Also after returning to South Africa, Tumelo reconnected with a recruiter for City Year Boston—the organization that Tumelo interned with during his CCI exchange year. Tumelo took the recruiter on a tour around South Africa, visiting historically significant locations including the Apartheid museum and the homes of Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu. During their excursions, Tumelo and his colleague from Boston also visited two youth organizations that provide opportunities to help young people rise out of poverty and volunteered with these underserved community organizations. After spending time in Boston helping U.S. community members, Tumelo was overwhelmed by his American friend’s investment and interest in learning about and helping South Africans. Tumelo said of the experience “I can literally say ‘Exchange Our World’ is real and it’s happening.”