2017 Christianson Grantee
Empowering refugees through employment training
After a volunteer stint with Za'atar, an NGO that operates a refugee shelter and community center in Athens, David wanted to return to help with the creation of a job training program for this community.
Project Layali will be a nonprofit social business with a cafe, boutique hotel, and cultural event space. The project will provide hospitality jobs and employment training to refugees who plan to remain in Athens permanently. During David’s year-long service project, he’ll help develop Project Layali, including fundraising and building the project’s online presence.
Our project is an unquestionably bold one, and while that bold nature presents numerous obstacles, it also presents extensive opportunities for growing cross-cultural understanding among native Greeks and Athens’ refugee population.
2016 Christianson Grantee
Helping refugee youth take the lead in Thailand
Jessica spent eight months working with the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN), helping coordinate a refugee youth leadership training program. The program aimed to strengthen their communication skills, nurture their leadership potential, and cultivate human rights awareness so that the youth could be agents of change in their communities.
Without the support of the InterExchange Christianson Grant, APRRN would not have had the resources to implement this leadership program for refugee youth. I would like to sincerely thank the InterExchange Foundation for providing me with the opportunity to help refugee youth be a force for positive change in their communities.
This journey has profoundly shaped my social awareness to be more globally conscientious, paving the way for my return to the U.S. as a socially responsive citizen of the world.
2016 Christianson Grantee
Esperanza, Dominican Republic
Empowering marginalized communities through education
Tiffany spent 11 months volunteering with Yspaniola, a nonprofit in the Dominican Republic that supports educational programming for youth in the marginalized community of Batey Libertad. In addition to teaching Spanish literacy, Tiffany also helped design youth development programs. Prior to joining Yspaniola, she taught English in Colombia on a Fulbright Scholarship.
Tiffany had such a positive impact that Yspaniola asked her to return for a second year and serve as the Director of Outreach and Education programs.
I am incredibly thankful and humbled by this experience that would not have been possible without the support of the Christianson Grant.
2015 Christianson Grantee
Advocating for Deaf rights in Italy
While backpacking through Europe and delivering lectures at two deaf-related conferences, Sheila witnessed the lack of public services and rights for the Deaf population in Italy. She wanted to make a difference so she reached out to the Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies at Ca'Foscari University and local non-profits to create community development initiatives to help the deaf in Veneto Province and raise awareness about this community.
After teaching English and American Sign Language for six months with the support of the Christianson Grant, Sheila received a U.S.-Italy Fulbright Deafness Study/Research Grant for her project on deaf Italian entrepreneurs.
The Christianson Grant gave me the opportunity to jump-start my international career and lay the foundation for my future work with the Deaf community in Italy.
2014 Christianson Grantee
Modernizing data collection and analysis at a community-based clinic in Togo
Alicia volunteered with Hope Through Health in Kara, Togo in 2014-2015 with the support of a Christianson Grant from the InterExchange Foundation. During her eight-month stint with the organization, Goodwin conducted research to evaluate a Maternal and Child Health pilot program and updated the clinic's data collection system. She worked with staff members to implement software that allows for consistent data collection and that lends itself well to analysis, which in turn lets staff make data-driven decisions for improving patient care.
2010 Christianson Grantee
Promoting sustainable agriculture in rural Guatemala
Darren spent eight months promoting sustainable agriculture on the southern coast of Guatemala with the grassroots organization Semilla Nueva. He assisted six rural farming communities implement eco-friendly practices, utilizing local resources and ecological principles. Since his project, Darren has continued to be involved in growing local food systems by bridging the gap between small-scale producers and markets looking to source local food.
To see from the perspective of a small rural producer in Guatemala has changed my concept of agriculture. Like many consumers in the U.S., I was disconnected from my food. I ate with no concept of the harvest and natural cycle, only the finished product... Working with rural farmers has helped to open my eyes to the slow natural cycle of production that is essential to consumption.