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YES7 Alumni Project Winners!

April 29, 2010

The YES Program doesn’t end when the students leave the United States. The second component involves students participating in alumni projects once they return to their home countries, and IRIS strives to support our students not only while they’re in the Midwest, but also once they’ve returned home.

In the past, the students leave at the end of the year and are left mostly to their own devices to come up with projects that would benefit their communities.

This year, we decided to have students submit proposals for a project idea in March. We received 58 proposals, and spent a good amount of time reading through each of them. In the end, we chose five winners based on how realistic the idea was and how many people it would benefit.

The winners will receive funding from IRIS to help them get started with their project. They also won a trip to Chicago!

Alumni project winners in Chicago (Daniel, Ummi, Fatima, Said and Eshpa)


Winning Projects


Ummul-Khair Aliyu — Kaduna State, Nigeria

Ummi’s project is to make dresses for children at the orphanage in her community. She is making dresses out of pillowcases that she will collect from her community here in the U.S. and construct when she returns home.

Ummi learned how to sew from her mother and while in the U.S. she took a sewing class as well. She will sew the dresses herself. She got the idea from a TV show where a woman was teaching how to sew and use the resources available to make clothes for the homeless. Ummi really enjoys working with children and she believes that this project will be a very cheap way to make changes in the lives of orphans in her community.

An example of the dresses Ummi will make from pillowcases


Said Hamad — Zanzibar, Tanzania

Said’s project is to plant 100 mango trees in his community when he returns home. He chose a fruit tree because he believes that if it was just a simple tree, people would cut it to use it as firewood.

Said hopes that by planting trees in his community, he will help slow (if not stop) the desertification of his region. The economy of his region depends on agriculture, and because of the recent droughts, most families have been struggling more than usual to feed themselves.


Daniel Ishaya — Gombe State, Nigeria

Daniel’s project is about water sanitation and how to help people in his village get access to clean water.

The deadliest diseases in Africa, malaria and cholera, are caused by exposure to unclean water. Daniel’s mission is to educate people in his community of the dangers of unclean water and also to teach them how to avoid polluting the water in their community.

He is also planning on building a well in his village because there are just a few wells in the area, and they are very far from where people live.


Eshpa Mollel — Arusha, Tanzania

Eshpa’s project is called “Book Basket Library.” It consists of collecting donated books from various schools in Atlantic and taking them to Tanzania, where she would start a small library.

Eshpa plans to lend the books to the schools in her community, including her high school. She will drop off one basket to the secondary school and one basket to each of the two primary schools in her community on the second Saturday of the month. Students would be allowed to check out one book at the time, and many children would be served by these baskets. Eshpa is hoping to get some people that will be willing to volunteer with the project so that they can all work together to take the books to the schools on Saturdays.

Her hope is that students who can’t afford to buy school books can borrow books from the Book Basket Library and that schools that do not have enough books can use those books to help their students. She currently has collected over 125 books and is working on raising money to cover the shipping cost.


Fatima Umar — Sokoto, Nigeria

Fatima’s goal is to use IRIS’s Alumni Center in Sokoto to teach 20 young women in her community how to use a computer. She would teach them basis computer skills such as how to surf the Internet and how to use Microsoft Word.

She believes that with these skills, the young women will not only be more competitive in the job market, but the extracurricular activity would help them focus on something more productive.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2012 7:24 AM

    I wish all my friends good life and prosperity

  2. April 5, 2013 3:15 PM

    This is a good news! Congratulations! Thank you by the way for sharing this article. I had a great time reading the posts here. I hope there will be an update soon. Keep it up and best regards!


  1. YES alumni student spreads holiday cheer in Nigeria « Iowa Resource for International Service

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