Omar has been a local YCI volunteer in Zanzibar for four months, and is currently assisting YCI staff and international volunteers with YCI’s programming in Zanzibar, including translation and co-facilitation of an Emerging Leaders program and Business English course. A true asset to the YCI Zanzibar team, Omar shares his story of how he became involved with YCI and what the experience has meant to him:
How did you first find out about YCI?
My uncle told me about YCI and its Emerging Leaders program last year. I started the program and the volunteers found out that I am good at speaking English. It was not my task to help, but I could help when it was needed, and they asked me if I wanted to start volunteering with YCI. I said yes – it was a good opportunity. I finished the three month Emerging Leaders program and then joined as a local volunteer.
What has your experience with YCI meant for you?
YCI has helped me a lot because I am working with international volunteers, who come with different ideas, different world views, and their own skills. We talk, share ideas and get to know each other better, and I learn things I didn’t know.
Also, by helping to teach and translate the Emerging Leaders and Business English programs, I am learning and increasing my experience every day. At first, I was a little bit shy to stand in front of people and sometimes I couldn’t express things. But every day after I come home from this program, my confidence has increased.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years, and how does YCI fit into your goals?
For now, I am working with a tour company as a trainee. After 10 years, I want to have my own tour company – that is my goal. I can get experience from YCI by getting to know people from different countries and using that experience in my business. I like to receive tourists from Canada –it’s easy to share ideas and communicate with them because I’ve worked with volunteers from Canada before.
What do you see as the biggest challenges for youth in your community?
The biggest problem facing youth, especially in Zanzibar, is education. It is very hard to get the credits to get into high school, and it’s hard to get a diploma or degree because of the expenses – many people can’t afford it. Also, the youth aren’t engaging in studying here. Not many have an advanced level of education because they get disappointed – they think that you can’t get a job even if they get more education. In addition, many students decide to take the same few programs in school, such as Human Resources, and then there are too many students with the same training.
How does YCI help to address these challenges?
When the volunteers come, they provide education on topics that youth aren’t aware of, such as project management. YCI offers Emerging Leaders, which helps students to be unique, and gives them an idea of other things out there for them.
The program also continuously helps the community and ‘wakes up’ youth. Every three months, students go out and work with the community and teach people – it encourages and motivates others who want to be like the YCI participants and be good people.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering with YCI?
I really like to stand up in front of my fellow youth and feel that I am the same age as them, but I can teach them things that I know and they don’t know – I am a leader. I get the things that I teach them from YCI.
– Shanna Sunley, Youth Ambassador, Tanzania 2013