It is always exciting to hear about strides and accomplishments from all the alumni in our exchange programs. In 2012, Anzurat Ashurova, a 2007 Community Connections alumnus from Iowa Resource for International Service (IRIS), started the Youth Journalism Project. This project was originally established by the Tajikistan non-governmental organization, Echodkor, as the School of Journalism for Young Girls.
The idea for the Youth Journalism Project came to Ashurova during her Community Connections exchange experience in Iowa. During her Community Connections exchange program, Ashurova visited the television station KCCI-TV in Des Moines, where she learned more about television production. Ashurova also learned about other forms of mass media production during her stay in Iowa. When Ashurova returned home to Tajikistan, she was motivated to create a program that mimicked many of the United States’ journalistic practices. Thus, the Youth Journalism Project was born.
Because the Youth Journalism Project is not officially a school or university, the students involved in this program attend journalism courses at Kurgan-Tube State University, which is located in Kurgan-Tube, Tajikistan. The program accepted 15 students, who took journalism classes. These classes focused on the following main disciplines: television programs, radio programs print production. During the program, the students learned how to write effective and exciting articles, in addition to perfecting their verbal modes of communication.
With hard work and dedication, the Youth Journalism Project students have developed some promising careers in journalism. Currently, five of the students who participated in the Youth Journalism Project are working as specialists in a Khatlon regional television channel, where they will be able to grow as journalists. The Youth Journalism Project provides a great opportunity for young girls to perfect their craft in journalism. Ashurova is motivated to keep improving the program, and one day hopes to expand the program into its own school.