Tag Archives: Leadership

Cycles of Life

It is incredible how this experience has made me a whole new person. There is no way to put into words what I am feeling now. Three months ago, I realized that I was lost in myself. I felt that I did not know who I was. I felt that a part of me was dying, but that little part was just dying to be born again. I cannot be more grateful for this challenging moment. It has not only made me grow a lot as a human being but also made me understand how important it is to challenge myself to overcome every stage of my life.

When I came here, I knew I wanted to challenge myself, but I did not imagine how hard it was going to be. Although I have always been passionate about my dreams, there was a time when I just did not know how valuable they are. Since I lost my confidence, I did not know how to express my ideas. So, I felt that I did not belong here because I was not good enough for this program. It was really frustrating to feel that I was not able to do what I wanted to do. As a consequence of these issues and other personal problems, I became depressed. Nevertheless, having one of my worst moments I realized how important is not only to appreciate difficult times but also to die in each stage of your life. On first thought, it does not make sense, but let me explain to you the big meaning that it has for me. I strongly believe that life is made of cycles. Each cycle of our life is a stage that we should live to learn from it; however, we should also die to be born again. We will have learned a lot, but we will also need to keep going without look back.  

 

In other words, that challenging moment not only made me born again but also changed the perspective of my life. I learned that my dreams are as valuable as I want them to be. I learned that I am important for my community and that I may cause a significant change if share all the things that I have learned until today. Now I know that nothing is impossible and that I am the only one who can strongly believe in her dreams to make them come true. Being involved in CCI program change my life. This is a stage of learning for my life and I really appreciate it. All the CCI cohort has taught me to be confident about my dreams and that I am not alone when it comes to making a positive change in the world.

Post written by Natalia Martínez Conde, CCI participant at NOVA-Alexandria from Colombia

 

 

 

 

Volunteering with Economic Planning Board, Islamabad

What makes you feel good and satisfied in life is the thing which you love to do? It can be anything; sometime, it can be as simple as having a conversation with other people and sharing new ideas or new information to benefit others. To me it is meeting new people and volunteering to bring them at one platform for any specific reason. Bringing something new on the table and getting oneself involved in the activities for the well-being and prosperity of disadvantaged people means a lot to me.

Being born in a very beautiful but very remote area of Pakistan – Hamza, I was exposed to the value of community development through volunteerism from a young age as thousands of youth in area had played and still paying a vital role in uplifting our society. The power of volunteerism especially by youth to bring some semblance of balance in life of people who in need had filled my thoughts since long.

As I began to look beyond my micro universe, it became clear to me that to serve communities better a platform was inevitable and had far-reaching effect on society. I along with my friends, who were also moved by the same cause, joined a forum called Economic Planning Board (EPB) where many young professionals and students come together for a specific reason. Economic Planning board is a platform, led by volunteers, where youth and professionals are brought together so that they can solve the problem and issues faced by our communities and play their role in community development.

We at EPB, through different interventions, benefit our community especially youth not only economically but also socially, physically, and psychologically. These intentions are carried out through different programs which are designed to uplift people fall into different socio-economic status. The major program we work in are as follow.

 

Human Capital

  • Skills Development
  • Vocational Training
  • Job Placement
  • Professional
  • Development

Personal Financial Management

  • Family Budgeting
  •  Retirement Saving Plans
  • Insurance
  • Investment

Business Development Services

  • Entrepreneur / Business Development
  • Business Retention and Expansion
  • Access to Micro Loan / SME Loan
  • Agriculture Inputs/ Technical Support

Alliance and Groups

  • Trade/Business Alliances
  • Professional Associations
  • Networking Groups

These programs are conducted by our volunteers – professionals and students – who work to help and guide those who are embarking to a new chapter of their life. Every year, thousands of community members are supported in one way or another though these interventions. We help them by showing a clear path on which everyone can pursue their careers. The best thing we do is arranging different events for people and bringing them together at one platform in order to bring smiles and happiness in their faces who usually go through hardship and tough life. We also sometimes arrange different trips and hiking’s to encourage them to be closer to the nature and understand the value which they miss in their lives otherwise.

Many of you might not know about and taste a lot the values of community service which makes your life happier and healthier. Joining this group as volunteer was a great idea and has really encouraged me to share the great benefit of volunteerism with people. I have been a member of this forum for last two years. I found it interesting as they are arranging different events, programs, sessions, and many other projects to build a healthy future for our community. People who work here are all volunteers; they volunteer to learn and to make themselves happier.

Post written by Meher Sultana, CCI participant at NOVA-Alexandria 2016-2017, Pakistan

Post edited on November 20, 2017

CCI NOVA Participates at the IYLA 2017, Washington, DC

August is the international youth month and on the 12th ,  the world bank group hosted young people from across the world to commemorate the international youth day at their headquarters in Washington, DC. The umbrella of the commemoration was the International Young Leaders Assembly(IYLA) 2017- which according to John Dickson, Chairman, Global Young Leaders Academy, took a long time to organize. The assembly was all about finding solutions to problems that plague young people and also to discuss some of the challenges that stagnate youth development. It was wonderful to see young adults and youngsters deliberating on issues of national and global importance. There were two sessions on the day – the service session and the entrepreneur session – before the commencement of the sessions, Daniel Pierini, Alternate Executive Director for Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, World Bank delivered a keynote address which centered around the impact that young people have in the world and what role they have in policy creation.

For the service session, there was a distinguished panel of Political leaders, ambassadors (former and current) and development experts. They all shared what they are involved in and how they impacted the communities they are involved with. Koby J. Langley, Senior vice president, Service to the Armed Force & International Humanitarian Law, American Red Cross, shared a story about his involvement in the Iraqi war – He was brought in as a young law expert, his duty was to ensure that the soldiers even though they are in war they respect human life and abide by the Laws of War. He indicated that at one point there would go on for three months without taking a bath, the conditions were tough and hard but one thing kept him and everyone going, the gifts and messages they received from the American people, one moment that prompted him to have a new definition for leadership was when he got a box of crushed Oreos and a broken toothbrush, He thought for a moment about his gifts and pictured the people who might have sent these wonderful essentials, which are in most cases trivial items, but in war they are highly important – at that moment he figured that Maybe leadership is about love and compassion, for he was convinced that the Unknown Americans who sent them gifts were doing that because of love and compassion. He said that made him to work even hard to protect human life in the war-torn Iraq.

 

I would like to share everyone’s story unfortunately I can’t, I will need to write a book to do that. Another story that I think is worth sharing is from Navya Maitri Konda, Co-Founder & President, GOAL; Stanford University, – who was visiting India at one time – she visited a center that offered learners to study and to do their homework after school. She felt happy that such a center was available to all the children in the community. One night the lights went off and the kids started to pack their books and left, she got hold of one of the children and asked why they are leaving to which he replied, “The power outages happen all the time and we don’t know when the power might be restored it can go on for days”. Hearing this she was perplexed, she came back to the United States and she started to look for solutions – she talked to colleagues, consulted professors and energy experts so that she can eliminate the problem that has the potential of ruining a good initiative and destroying the future of the children. She got the help needed and they erected solar powerlines for this particular study center. Her talk on leadership is that you do not need to be directly affected by a problem before you could find a solution to it, if it is affecting somebody and you have the means to solve it, get on it. She believes leadership is solving problems even though they have nothing to do with you.

There were closing remarks for the first session from the member of parliament in Uganda, Hon. Babirye Sarah Kityo Breeze. Her address was tailored for leaders in government. She stressed the need for young leaders in world governments so that young people’s voices can be heard in high level of power so that they can be tackled effectively. She mentioned a fact that got her applause – 60% of the members of parliament in Uganda are young women. Which is higher that any other country in the world.

The second session moved very quick and the panel was comprised of young and old entrepreneurs. They all shared stories about their businesses and how they got them to be successful. What I learned from them was that you will never be successful in business if you do not take risks and make necessary sacrifices. “To be an entrepreneur is not something you wish for, it is something that you live – it becomes a part of you”. Wise words from one of the panelists. They also had a special advice for NGOs – “it is important for NGOs to not rely only on donations, they should really think of developing their own product that can generate income to fund some of their initiatives “, said Robert Dowling founder, PennDPC; co-Founder, repurpose.

 

As young people, we are agents of change but we seem not to understand what that means. We are still hiding in the shadows. The young leader assembly was successful and most issues were discussed and the solutions were diverse, but they lacked scientific reasoning. After the two sessions were concluded there was a group discussion of about 17 core issues that are common to all the countries of the world – sustainable energy, infrastructure development, childcare, and all the way to climate change. The solutions from young were all social solutions but none of them were scientific even on issues that required science and technology. That troubled me – it means this generation lacks a holistic view of what is happening around them – some even narrowed their solutions to political rhetoric that lacks facts.

As the CCI cohort from NOVA we learned a lot from the panel that was invited to the Assembly but we learned nothing from our peers, the same cannot be said about the CCI cohort. We participated in every discussion and contributed greatly in those discussions, but scientific reasoning was still missing.

Post written by Vuyani Maduna, 2017-2018 participant at NOVA-Alexandria from South Africa

CCI STUDENTS PARTICIPATE AT IYLA 2017, WASHINGTON DC

Taking a part on celebrating International Youth Day on August 12th, 30 CCI students of Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) attended International Youth Leaders Assembly 2017 (IYLA) in World Bank, Washington DC. All attendees, including CCI grantees, were so enthusiastic to participate on the lectures delivered by the remarkable-achievement panel speakers that are leaders and social-movement initiators in their respective organizations. They are counted to have made a great impact in their community in various fields like underprivileged community empowerment, inclusive education, women empowerment, and other social development fields.

The international forum that has successfully attracted participation from all youths throughout the globe was very open for general discussion and being used by all participants to address their concern on youth issues and share ideas. Furkan Batuhan Ilhan, CCI student from Turkey, put an issue to the floor about the importance of comprehensive participation from a social movement initiators and societies’ support to make an enormous positive impact.

Manuela Dimuccio Gonzales, secretary in World Bank Group and the board of Youth-to-Youth organization, encouraged all youths present in the hall to work together hand in hand with their community.

“If you want to walk fast, walk alone. But if you want to walk further, walk together,” Manuela quoted in her speech.

After serving 30-minute Leader Group Discussion (LGD), the forum gave chance to 17 group representatives to deliver their discussion report. One of the CCI students, Mamello Moloi from South Africa, selected by her LGD members, addressing the floor on issue Industry Innovation and Infrastructure. The Information Technology student of NVCC conveyed to her audience that the government has to give support to all youths regardless their social or financial situation since there are many young people coming from different background that have brilliant innovation but they seem to be out of government’s hand. This, she believes, is an act of government to make a sustainable impact for all societies around the globe.

Mamello Moloi, speaking as the representative of her LGD

The conference that day was closed by a group photo that assembled both participants and panel speakers in one photo frame and declared commitment for International Youth Day 2017 which is dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace.

Post written by Muhammad Arham, 2017-2018 participant at NOVA-Annandale from Indonesia

My Experiential Learning

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn” (Benjamin Franklin).

It is sad when something so special to you comes to an end, my time would end in the United States of America very soon, but on the other hand, I am so grateful and happy for the incredible experience in a place where I never imagined I would ever venture to go to. CCI is the program which provide me this golden opportunity to visit my dream land. This program provide me many opportunities in these 10 months to learn technical skills, enhance my leadership capabilities and strengthen my language proficiency, networking and service learning, for which I am very thankful. I am going to talk about one the best opportunity provide by this program to learn and develop my professional skills is the internship program or experiential learning.

Currently I am working as a program assistant in Lincolnia Senior Center Virginia, United States. This is a community center which provide residence, meals, supportive services, medical guardian, transportation, shopping services and social, physical, emotional, and intellectual needs for older citizens. I am incredibly happy to have been a part of this organization as I have a strong will to help others in my life. My duties are to create a weekly calendar, Manage activities for seniors, engaged them in activities and games, maintaining suggestion programs, taking interview and making their life stories. I spend most of the time learning administrative stuff like, planning and implementation of activities for residents. Designs programs to encourage their social life, provide entertainment, relaxation, and fulfillment, and improve daily living skills. This is a wonderful opportunity I got to learn new things.

I was thinking that it will be very hard for me to adjust and understand in a new organizational culture and stratification in the beginning but when I start communicating and discuss thing with my director I felt relax. As a program assistant, I work under the guidance of the program director Miss Carolyn Martin who has an experience of almost 30 years in her respective field, and I feel fortunate to have met all the other staff as well. They are all colorful characters; people who have experienced a lot and are willing to share their knowledge with the younger generations. This is also a wonderful opportunity for me to make Networking. It prepared me to produce, team work and enhance leadership skills. Furthermore, what I most embraced about this internship is, I got chance to work in a democratic leadership environment that they include every staff in meetings, discussions and making decisions. My director always give much value for my openings and that gives me a great sense of importance, belonging and encouragement. I learned to be patient, to show good judgement and respect the different backgrounds and experience of a diverse group of people. I have increased my knowledge, humility, faith, hope, and passion I learned from my boss that I should not limit myself. Go out there and explore the world that is meant to be explored. She is one of the special, and influential person that has been a big part of my life. She gives me wonderful advice, and has taught me a lot about life.  She has taught me so much in such a short amount of time.

Post written by Naveen, CCI participant at NOVA 2016-2017 from Pakistan