Kiran Alwani has recently joined YCI as the Volunteer Program Assistant. She has newly moved to Canada from Pakistan where she worked with underprivileged children and their communities as a Fellow at Teach For Pakistan. She graduated from Lahore University of Management Sciences in 2011 with a major in Social Sciences, and Anthropology and Sociology as her concentrations. During her undergraduate program, she was selected as 1 of the 7 students from across Pakistan as a Student Leader to meet prominent leaders in the United States and work with a diverse group of young individuals from different countries. Kiran also worked as a Leadership Facilitator with high school students in Bangladesh and is extremely passionate about working with youth. She has a strong interest in International Development, and is excited about working with YCI volunteers and supporting them as they prepare for their trips abroad!
1) How did you get involved in YCI?
I am passionate about working in International Development, especially for children and youth issues. After my graduation, I did a fellowship with Teach For Pakistan for two years which gave me the opportunity to work with underprivileged children and their communities. I also worked with high school students in Bangladesh and conducted leadership, teambuilding and mentoring sessions with them to help them form earth clubs at their school, and design projects to make their country more environmentally friendly. Apart from this, I was a student leader and got to meet individuals from different countries and diverse backgrounds, and work on social development projects during my undergrad degree. These experiences strengthened my interest in youth development and the role youth can play in changing the world.
So when I moved to Canada recently, I researched different organizations that are working for youth development and YCI was amongst the top ones. I especially like the idea of connecting youth from developed and developing countries to work together to make a positive difference in the world, and hence be truly global and socially responsible citizens.
2) What does your position at YCI entail?
As the Volunteer Program Assistant, I manage volunteer applications, conduct interviews, prepare project materials and orientation guides, and help with the selection process. I love the opportunity I get to connect with volunteers to learn about their experiences and see their passion to volunteer. I help prepare these motivated youth leaders for their trips abroad with fundraising advice and ensure that they are ready for their projects. It is exciting to learn about all the creative ideas our volunteers have and to share their enthusiasm for youth development.
3) What do you think is the biggest issue facing youth today?
In my opinion, lack of educational and economic opportunities are the biggest challenges we face as youth today. I believe that youth all over the world, regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds, deserve access to excellent education and the freedom to create their own life paths. The aspirations of youth in both developing and developed countries are largely unmet due to limited educational and economic opportunities. Access to these is important to empower youth, so that they can participate actively in civic and social domains as socially responsible young individuals.
4) Outside of work, what are some of your favourite things to do?
I love singing and listening to different genres of music. I used to host a radio show back in my days at university, and maybe I’ll get to do that sometime in the future! Besides being a huge fan of Dan Brown novels, I like to read all sorts of random articles in my spare time. I love watching tennis and am one of the biggest Federer fans you’ll ever meet! I also love traveling, meeting people from different backgrounds and exploring new cultures. I lived in Pakistan, and have been to Tanzania, Bangladesh, and the United States. I hope the list keeps growing as time passes!