Hello from Youth Journalism International!
We have been awfully busy this winter with our normal educational activities, our annual journalism contest and much more. But perhaps what you'd find most interesting is a glimpse at our new Winter 2015 class of students, whom we've just brought on board.
Here's what we wrote to them recently:
Greetings and welcome! You live in 31 countries, including Afghanistan, Myanmar, Rwanda, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, the West Bank and Ghana. About one third of the group lives in the United States and about half are American citizens.
Two-thirds of you are teens and two-thirds of you are women.
About 80 percent of you have a Facebook account, 90 percent have a cell phone and half of you have a Twitter and/or an Instagram account.
Two-fifths of you speak something other than English at home. Among the other languages you primarily speak are Arabic, Bahasa, Bengali, Burmese, Hindi, Chinese, Filippino, Igbo, Korean, Malay, Thai, Pashto, Polish, Russian, Sinhala, Tagalog, Tamazight, Tamil, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese and Yoruba.
The cities with the most new members are Lahore, Pakistan and Chennai, India. There are multiple students from a number of places, though, including London, Melbourne, Long Island and Connecticut, where YJI is based.
In short, you represent a wide swath of the planet and come from a range of cultures and religions. Some of you are members of wealthy families in rich communities. Others live in cities or villages where many people are struggling.
One of the many remarkable things about Youth Journalism International is that you have the chance, if you seize it, to gain real insight into this world we share by making friends with one another. Make it part of your mission with YJI to build some personal connections with classmates who are near and far, from both similar and wildly different backgrounds. You have much to learn from them, and they can learn from you, too.
We are convinced that one of the most important things YJI does is to create connections that cross cultures and borders so that everyone involved can recognize our common humanity. That is the path to peace.
Through YJI, we have made friends in places we will most likely never see. And we've met scores of young people who have made their way to our door or to somewhere not too distant. Our lives have been enriched more than we can say. It's hard to imagine the past 21 years without the young people we've come to know, including many alumni who are working as doctors, teachers, social workers, lawyers and, yes, even journalists. We are so proud of them all.
We can't wait to get to know you, too.
Since then, we've actually added a few more students to you can add New Zealand, Gambia, South Africa and Russia to the list of places where we have new students. It's amazing, really, that all these students are eager to join us.
In truth, there are always many more than our tiny organization can possibly cope with. But we do what we can do, relying heavily on volunteers and stretching every dollar we have. I hope you know that you have made a real difference in the lives of young people in many lands, giving them a sense of their place in the world and the confidence to speak out and stand tall. There's a reason so many of them have gone on to college and careers that amaze us (despite, in many case, coming from low-income or splintered homes). You've made that possible for those who came before and, we're confident, for these new students who just getting started.
By the way, if you look at our blog, you'll find pieces by at least four of the newcomers already. We don't waste time here at YJI!
Thank you for making it all possible.
This has been a wonderful year for Youth Journalism International, with young people around the world telling their stories and building connections that transcend race, religion, nationality and much more.
Take a look at our latest newsletter to find out about a recent gathering in Washington, D.C. that brought YJI students together who hail from Vietnam, Connecticut, Virginia, Missouri and Afghanistan. That is pretty cool, by any standard, and it had the added advantage of getting to hear from Bob Woodward, to see pandas, to tour the Newseum and so much more.
We are deeply grateful that you have helped make this all possible. So as we celebrate Thanksgiving, rest assured we'll be including in our thanks all of the wonderful people whose donations and assistance keep Youth Journalism International flourishing.
Thank you all.
As you know, Youth Journalism International students provide telling stories and pictures from their hometowns across the world. We help them do it.
But they are also tied into the greater world of journalism and current events. Last month's on-camera beheading of journalist James Foley by terrorists operating in Syria brought those worlds together in a shocking, sickening event. Searching for a way to show their support for Foley, his family and the mission he died for, YJI students, alumni and friends joined together to create a photo montage from many lands as part of a global #RememberingJim campaign.
You can see the result as part of this update.
While you're at it, check out the many pieces they've done in recent months on YJI's blog at www.YJIblog.org and www.YouthJournalism.org. We have so many amazing, talented young people whose voices deserve to be heard.
Thanks for your ongoing support. It is greatly appreciated.
We are scrambling to catch up with many stories in the wake of the five-day Toronto Tour 2014 that brought three YJI students from Connecticut together with a trio of their colleagues in Toronto. It proved an exhausting, exhilarating, wonderful time that will offer our readers stories on everything from Seneca Falls, New York to paddle boats on Toronto’s harbor front. The first few stories are available on our website and blog now, with more to come soon.
We’ve also been working with students around the world to get stories published on the World Cup in Brazil, the missing girls in Nigeria, a so-called honor killing in Pakistan, jaundice in Nepal and so much more. Nobody gives young people a voice the way we do.
Thank you so much for your support for Youth Journalism International. Please see the attached report to get an idea of what we've been doing.
Reports from Remote African Village to Icy Lake Superior
Each day, Youth Journalism International students give us all reason to be proud and to feel hopeful about the future. They’re such an outstanding group that we’ve come to expect excellence. But sometimes, a piece of work rises so far above that it makes us wish everyone on the planet could see it. Nigerian YJI student Linus Okechukwu’s January story of a small village struggling to overcome a horrific massacre did just that.
Reporting from a place so remote it’s not on any map we could find, Linus interviewed survivors of the murderous attack, and wrote of their suffering but also about how they were healing by celebrating Christmas. It’s a remarkable piece. To get the story – which was barely noticed in the local media and not at all outside Nigeria – Linus visited the village several times, snapping photos with his cell phone, even climbing a tree to get an aerial view! Linus now leads a small group of new Nigerian student reporters for YJI.
Of course Nigeria is not the only place where YJI reporters are busy. The polar vortex – and a tough winter in general – had students trekking through the snow and ice with their cameras in Chicago, Toronto, Minnesota,Georgia and Connecticut, sharing the troubles and beauty of winter with readers worldwide.
From India, reporter Harsha Mishra marked the one-year anniversary of the brutal gang rape in Delhi with a tribute to the victim’s bravery and a scathing rebuke of the system slow to punish the attackers. Jenny Neufeld, a YJI student in upstate New York, cleverly compared the glitches in the Obamacare website with the troubles she and other high school seniors faced with the online Common Application.
YJI reporter Yelena Samofalova, an American who was born in Ukraine, wrote about her own sadness in watching the chaos there and from Venezuela, YJI’s Mary Granella did her best to explain that food shortages and an economic crisis are at the root of public protests there. Coverage of the Lunar New Year came from YJI students in China and Vietnam, along with movie reviews, news and more from the U.S., U.K., Nepal and Pakistan.
Connecticut YJI writers Ambriel Johnson and Alan Burkholder detailed a wild rumpus: the New Britain Museum of American Art’s tribute to artist Maurice Sendak and his Where the Wild Things Are. And, sporting YJI’s first White House press credentials, newcomer Sherry Sah covered President Barack Obama’s March speech at Central Connecticut State University. All this and more is posted at www.yjiblog.org . Please check often so you don’t miss anything!
Please see the attached PDF for more information about what we've been doing at Youth Journalism International!
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.