Alaa Mahmoud is a medical student at Suez Canal University in Ismailia, Egypt. He participated in the Work & Travel USA program in 2016, living and working in Wildwood, NJ. Alaa has always been passionate about volunteer work and community service, with a focus on children in his community.
When discovering the CIEE Exchange Ambassador Grants, he was so excited to discover an opportunity that would allow him to make a change in his comunity. He had gone on to develop ExExgpt, an independent, non-governmental association aiming to teach youth about healthy lifestyle choices, first aid, and keeping the environment clean by planting and recycling. Alaa applied for the "Changemake in Action" grant to develop a “Young Girls Empowerment Program" to help young girls of disadvantaged backgrounds become future Changemakers. When finding out he was chosen as a recipient of the grant, he said it felt like making another dream a reality!
To begin developing the program, Alaa launched an online campaign to encourage girls "to be who they really are"! Their target goal was to reach as many young women, mothers, and families as possible and encourage them to join the Young Girls Empowerment Program. A total of 44 girls were able to participate, with ages ranging between 8-12. From there, he reserved a building space to facilitate the programming, train 40 new members to be professional and confident young leaders, and finally launch the Girl Empowerment Camp!
Alaa says, "The Girl Empowerment Camp, where 44 young girls participated in, has been such a huge success that everyone including the local media has been talking about its success. The smiles and hope on the faces of these young girls after the camp was worth billions and billions of dollars. We believe that changing these young girls lives will lead us to brighter, safer, and most importantly united future. We believe that such initiatives have positive global impact across the world, and this will continue to inspire more generations."
Thanks to this project, which had reached more than 13K people in few days, 44 girls went back home with their families, feeling that the world needs them to give a helping hand and that their voices really matter.
To find out more about the CIEE Exchange Ambassador Grants, visit out website here!