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Please join us in congratulating our 2013 visitor Angela Benedicto Mnagoza from Tanzania! She was recently selected as one of the "Queens Young Leaders" and was awarded by Queen Elizabeth for her work advocating for the rights of child domestic workers. Colleagues International of Kalamazoo is honored to know this amazing young woman. Angel came to the U.S. through the IVLP program and Global Ties U.S.
Jerry PotratzColleagues International
Congratulations to our own Legislative Fellow visitor, Anil Shrestha! He was recently honored with The Outstanding Youth Award of Nepal 2014 (TOYN) for the contribution he made in the field of Law, Human Rights and Social Justice. Recognition was given by Nepal Jaycees in their 41st National conference, IT Park, Kavre. We are proud of you, Anil!
Jerry PotratzColleagues International
Jamshed Bafaev, a Community Connections program alumnus from Dushanbe, Tajikistan, purchased new equipment and opened a separate unit in his auto shop to provide service to American cars after his returning from the study program in the United States. As a program participant, Mr. Bafaev worked for a repair shop in Kalamazoo, Michigan where he became more knowledgeable and confident in his work with American cars. “My business is growing,” Mr. Bafaev notes, “and Community Connections contributed to this growth. However, the biggest benefit of program participation is the new friends among program participants, who I meet with and do business with, and friends in the US. My (U.S.) host family is dear to me and is going to visit me in Tajikistan next year.” During program follow up meetings, Mr. Bafaev distributed his business cards to owners of American cars, such as U.S. Embassy personnel, and many of them now utilize his workshop for their car repair needs. “It was amazing to see how American people appreciate their country, heritage, friends, and neighbors, they work hard and try hard to improve America.” He was touched to see the commitment of so many people working to make their country a better place. “I learned this life lesson from them and, after this experience; I came back with a different attitude towards Tajikistan.”
Jamshed Bafaev from TajikistanCommunity Connections Program: Small and Medium Enterprise – January 2008
Lutfiya Safarova was a part of a Community Connections program aimed at educating professionals working with groups with disabilities in a country that has limited services and programs in this area. She is the Coordinator for the Education Center for Children with Disabilities in Uzbekistan. Her Kalamazoo program included eight other participants, who, as a group, spent three weeks in Kalamazoo visiting two to three organizations each day. “We saw how your organizations work with [people with disabilities] and we transmitted our experience to our communities, and colleges. The program and the knowledge she gained from the various organizations in Kalamazoo has also helped her pass another important program dealing with preferential microcrediting for vulnerable levels of population. She helps parents become more informed of these programs and has created new and accessible conditions for parents to receive these small loans. “Thanks to USAID, Colleagues International and other American partners who have helped us during our program in USA,” says Lutfiya. “Also, this program helped me to find new friends in USA. I have a good contact with my dear host family… They are the best host family in the world!”
Lutfiya Safarova from UzbekistanCommunity Connections Program: Support for Disabled Groups, Organizations & Societies – August 2008
Zebunniso Solieva visited Kalamazoo as part of a Community Connections Program focused on improving business practices in Tajikistan. Zebunniso and nine other participants spent five weeks learning management and smart business practices at local businesses. Zebunniso is the Director of Development and Quality Management for the Transport Forwarding Company Babilon in Tajikistan, which her father owns. She spent time at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Kalamazoo and thanked Derrick Ricca, Senior Sales Executive, and the rest of the hotel staff for all that she learned. “Several days spent in Radisson changed my understanding of the management philosophy. The knowledge you gave and books you recommended have changed every person in our company from the owner to the cleaning lady.” Since her program in Kalamazoo and her placement at the Radisson Plaza Hotel, she has adopted many of the hotel’s management practices to make changes in her father’s company. She and her management team have developed missions, visions, and values for their transport forwarding company, Vavilon, and their vending company, Express Pay. They have also adopted employee practices from the Radisson like Service Excellence Workshops, Brilliant Cards for best associates and will be organizing the Best Worker and Best Manager of the Year awards in January 2009. Inspired from their group’s visit to the Kalamazoo Rotary Club, Zebunniso and other program participants organized Khujand Rotary Club’s first meeting in September. The meeting included presentations and discussions on several topics including effective energy saving methods (insulation, isolation etc.), effective management tools, and professional advisory services for small and medium enterprises. The meeting received very good feedback, but Zebunniso worries about coordinating everyone’s busy schedules. “I’m sure with Manzura and Ardasher (other Community Connections participants) it is possible,” she says. “Indeed we have seen another America, discovered another world full of love and care, devotion and acceptance.”
Zebunniso Solieva from TajikistanCommunity Connections Program: Small and Medium Enterprise – January 2008
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