PAYLP Alumnus Brian Sibanda’s Journey from Poverty in Zimbabwe to Scholarship in the United States

For 18-year-old Zimbabwean Brian Sibanda, discovering that he had been accepted to Pomona College in California was nothing short of a dream come true. “I was very shocked and for a couple of days I thought I was dreaming.” A former participant in the Pan-African Youth Leadership Program (PAYLP) administered by Meridian International Center in partnership with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), Brian received a full scholarship to attend Pomona College this year where he is now just days away from completing his first semester. As someone who faced adversity at a young age, this feat represents a major milestone in Brian’s ongoing journey to empower himself and the lives of youth like him in countries across Africa. Continue  

Culture at the Center: Eritrean Community in D.C.

Every day around 5pm, people start pouring through a small heavy door on 18th Street in Adams Morgan.  Nearly hidden behind the long lines from the bars that surround it is the entrance to the Eritrean Civic and Cultural Center (ECCC).  Among the DMV’s considerable Eritrean population, the ECCC has emerged as one of the foremost meeting places for the community.  Continue  

“A Golden Opportunity: The 2016 Let Girls Learn U.S. Exchange Program” by Karima Lakouz, A Moroccan Let Girls Learn Participant

During my high school life, I was always known as the social butterfly. I spoke to everyone, tried to engage in every social activity that is available, and hence I met a lot of people who told me about exchange programs. Thanks to them, I participated in English Access Microscholarship Program, Techgirls, and Let Girls Learn. I would like to shed the light on the latter. Let Girls Learn is an initiative started by the first lady of the United States of America Michelle Obama to help girls around the world get the education they deserve. This program had...

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Behind the Lens: Let Girls Learn

Behind the Lens: Let Girls Learn First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn initiative, is an effort to support girls around the world with education and opportunity. Currently over 62 million girls are without an education.  While interning at Meridian International Center as a Marketing and Communications Intern in the GlobalConnect Division, I was invited to photograph the girls during the Let Girls Learn U.S. Exchange Program where girls from Morocco and Liberia were invited by the First Lady to come to Washington D.C. and watch CNN’s documentary “We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission to Educate Girls Around the...

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