This summer, the Community College Initiative (CCI) Program will release a series of videos that showcases the impact of CCI alumni projects and contributions in their home communities. Over the past several months, a small team of filmmakers from StoryCenter have been making their way around the world to film and share these CCI stories. On the final leg of their trip, the team traveled to Indonesia and Bangladesh.
Enhancing Education and English Language Learning Opportunities in Indonesia
In Indonesia, StoryCenter visited CCI alumni on three of Indonesia’s thousands of islands. On Sumatra, they met with alumnus Jaya Gulo who studied business at Edmonds Community College during the 2015-2016 program year.
While in the United States, Gulo conceived of a project that would provide Indonesian children with basic school supplies. As an alumnus, Gulo used the project management, networking, and fundraising skills he learned in his academic courses in the United States to turn his concept into reality. He founded the non-profit organization “The School Projects,” which helps pay for books, supplies, clothing, and transport for students to be able to go to school. At one school, Gulo’s project provides an education for 26 children, ages 4 and 5, six days a week.
Aside from his education initiative, Gulo also works full time within the ministry of finance in Indonesia and does other community outreach. Recently, he was able fund-raise to distribute supplies to 130 families affected by flooding and has also raised money to purchase school supplies for 1100 kids in rural areas.
After completing his CCI year studying media at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona, Glend Huliselan hit the ground running to establish community education projects in his home country. After the CCI 2015-2016 program year, as an alumnus Glend applied for and won grant funding from the Pollination Project for his project “Peace Awareness Campaign through Education (PACE).” PACE brought together youth from warring communities in an effort to heal wounds and establish positive relationships through team learning. Throughout 2016, about 50 children from 10 different high schools in Tobelo, North Halmahera attended PACE courses in English, media, and multicultural awareness. PACE was a pilot project and first of its kind in the region and country.
In 2017, Glend continued to expand educational opportunities in Indonesia by developing a new program called “Anak Halmahera English Network” (AHEN). This emerging program aims to provide low-cost English courses to professionals, housewives, civil servants and children at a local orphanage. AHEN also aims to train local youth to be able to teach English to others.
On the island of Lombok, CCI alumna Ziadah is championing literacy among young children in local villages. Prior to the CCI Program, Ziadah co-founded the organization EduLand—a volunteer community in Indonesia that focuses on education and the environment. Through EduLand, she started her “Backpacking Library Program” in Indonesia.
Since completing her 2015-2016 CCI exchange year, during which she studied media at Kirkwood Community College, Ziadah and a team of about 15-20 volunteers, most of whom are educators, bring a suitcase of books to remote villages and lead children through reading and learning activities. Ziadah’s visits result in gathering over 60 kids together at a time to read and learn English phrases, colors, and numbers. Since many of the children do not have books in their homes or access to libraries, they eagerly look forward to Ziadah’s visit with her team of volunteers. Ziadah says that reading opened her world and she want the kids she serves to have access to books and reading opportunities, too.
Public Safety in Bangladesh
In Bangladesh, StoryCenter visited alumnus Muhammad Ferdaus to film his work promoting and implementing public safety measures in his home community.
Two significant disasters in Bangladesh influenced Muhammad’s desire to help and protect others. First as a child, a cyclone wiped out everything his family owned. This tragedy inspired him to become an emergency and disaster first responder. When another tragedy struck—the Rana Plaza building collapse—Muhammad immediately stopped the university meeting he was attending and left to go aid in the response.
In the 2014-2015 CCI year, Muhammad completed public safety courses at Bunker Hill Community College, and served as a Red Cross volunteer and intern. From these experiences, he realized that he could train others in the skills and knowledge needed to volunteer and help their own communities, families, workplaces. Through the CCI Program, he learned how to organize large-scale events and to network and collaborate with international NGO’s and stakeholders to accomplish large-scale trainings and disaster management
Muhammad now organizes training for public safety and disaster management through universities, NGO’s, and in the workplace—particularly in the garment district. He has also begun working as a consultant on improving workplace safety and working conditions, and initiating green policies in the garment district. In addition, he is working to change and implement policy that would enhance public safety and disaster preparedness by working with the United Nations and through BRAC University. Muhammad’s dedication to improving safety conditions in Bangladesh by leading trainings, offering consultations to organizations, and promoting policy demonstrates how civic engagement at various levels can make a significant difference.
CCI Alumni Connections
In addition to filming alumni projects, former CCI program coordinator Allison Myers has been hosting informal CCI gatherings for all alumni in each country. CCI alumni have been excited to reconnect and network with each other and share what they have been doing in their home countries since their CCI experiences.