We are continuously blown away by the impact our alumni have on their communities abroad. From organizing a democracy-minded journalism workshop for Ukrainian youth to fixing eroded roads in a Nigerian neighborhood, our alumni are committed to carrying out IRIS’s mission to promote international understanding, development, and peace

A lasting example of this commitment is found in our 2009-10 YES alum —Ndeenga Shamata. Upon returning home to Tanzania from Ford Madison, Iowa, Ndeenga jumped right into community involvement. She taught primary school, held HIV-AIDS  prevention education seminars, and enrolled in the University of Dar Es Salaam to pursue a degree in Geography and Environmental Studies with a focus on Climate and Climatic Changes.

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Towards the end of last year, Ndeenga shifted her focus to women issues in the area of Longido in Tanzania. She educated over 140 women on the consequences of the Maasai local tradition of female circumcisions — otherwise known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Ndeenga gave the women the tools to understand and take care of their reproductive health.

“Female genital mutilation is strongly practiced as an unescapable part of culture among the Maasai societies. Alighting the dangers and risks of this torturing, inhuman degrading treatment of such cruel act will go a long way in saving their lives and happiness,” Ndeenga says.

In addition to her work to educate women on proper reproductive health, Ndeenga provided food for 45 students taking the Standard Seven National exam in Tanzania and joined other YES alumni to visit the Hananasif orphanage during the holidays.

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For her outstanding commitment to her community, Ndeenga received the 2013-14 IRIS Global Citizen Scholarship. The scholarship program enables our alumni to reach their professional, community, and educational goals. This year we celebrated the second year of the scholarship program after raising over $16,000.  We can’t wait to award more deserving alumni, like Ndeenga, across the globe.

“By helping me reach my dreams and goals of education, it is as if you have uplifted the whole society and nation as a whole. I am so thankful for all this. To me it was a huge miracle. I can’t think of any better word to describe how happy and thankful I am for this gift of scholarship,” says Ndeenga.


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