Ter is the first to point out that his story is only partially about him, and equally about the many friends and ‘family’ members who have adopted him – and whom he has adopted – throughout his unlikely global odyssey, from northwest Kenya to sunny Florida to the cold mountains of Azerbaijan and back to academia in Boston.

It is a story of kindness. And it is the story, in its elemental sense, of thanksgiving.

I’m not crying, YOU ARE!

(Source: bit.ly)

Sudan Africa Kenya University of Florida azerbaijan inspriational The Christian Science Monitor

“We want to get the young members of rural Azerbaijan to start thinking outside of their daily scope of how men and women are seen and valued in Azerbaijan, and move into what is possible for the future of their country.” 
Peace Corps Volunteers Rick Wiersma and Roxann Brown are working with members of their community to promote gender equality. Recently Wiersma and Brown held a group discussion on gender and development with more than 25 Azerbaijani students and community members in southern Azerbaijan. They reviewed the role of gender within families, women’s rights and gender equality.

 

“We want to get the young members of rural Azerbaijan to start thinking outside of their daily scope of how men and women are seen and valued in Azerbaijan, and move into what is possible for the future of their country.” 

Peace Corps Volunteers Rick Wiersma and Roxann Brown are working with members of their community to promote gender equality. Recently Wiersma and Brown held a group discussion on gender and development with more than 25 Azerbaijani students and community members in southern Azerbaijan. They reviewed the role of gender within families, women’s rights and gender equality.

 

gender equality azerbaijan youth students women's rights equality IWD International Women's Day Peace Corps Volunteers

Peace Corps Volunteers Lead Gender Equality Discussion in Azerbaijan

“The goal of the presentations was to promote social awareness as well as critical thinking in local community members,” said Wiersma, a graduate of Liberty University who has been living and working in Azerbaijan since September 2011. “We want to get the young members of rural Azerbaijan to start thinking outside of their daily scope of how men and women are seen and valued in Azerbaijan and move into what is possible for the future of their country.”

Azerbaijan gender equality education community development Peace Corps Volunteers gender women's rights social awareness culture

Peace Corps Volunteer Julie Nelson shared this photo and story about making a difference in the life of one young woman in Azerbaijan:"One of my students, Shole, has personally struggled a lot in the time I’ve known her. Her parents are divorced, her mother is absent, her father lives with his new wife, and she is being raised by her grandparents. Shole is very self-conscious about this situatio
n, and although she is a gifted student, it is very difficult getting her to commit to conversation clubs or other activities because of lack of motivation. However, this spring, she seemed more upbeat than usual, and she participated in ‘Write On’ contest for the first time. Shole won first place in the 8th grade category! Even though she seemed happy at the time, I could tell that she didn’t realize the significance of this accomplishment.A few months later, Shole participated in GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Camp. I hadn’t seen her since the camp until she attended the Write On Awards Ceremony with me. It was a wonderful experience because she was absolutely glowing the entire time. She told me numerous times that she was happy and that she was thankful. Before leaving the ceremony, Shole said thank you again and that she loved me.My counterpart has since talked to her grandmother who said that Shole is very different now than she was a few months ago. Now she is driven and even wants to study and apply for the FLEX (Future Leaders Exchange) program!”Learn more about FLEX here http://exchanges.state.gov/youth/programs/flex.html

Peace Corps Volunteer Julie Nelson shared this photo and story about making a difference in the life of one young woman in Azerbaijan:

"One of my students, Shole, has personally struggled a lot in the time I’ve known her. Her parents are divorced, her mother is absent, her father lives with his new wife, and she is being raised by her grandparents. Shole is very self-conscious about this situatio

n, and although she is a gifted student, it is very difficult getting her to commit to conversation clubs or other activities because of lack of motivation. 

However, this spring, she seemed more upbeat than usual, and she participated in ‘Write On’ contest for the first time. Shole won first place in the 8th grade category! Even though she seemed happy at the time, I could tell that she didn’t realize the significance of this accomplishment.

A few months later, Shole participated in GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Camp. I hadn’t seen her since the camp until she attended the Write On Awards Ceremony with me. It was a wonderful experience because she was absolutely glowing the entire time. She told me numerous times that she was happy and that she was thankful. Before leaving the ceremony, Shole said thank you again and that she loved me.

My counterpart has since talked to her grandmother who said that Shole is very different now than she was a few months ago. Now she is driven and even wants to study and apply for the FLEX (Future Leaders Exchange) program!”

Learn more about FLEX here http://exchanges.state.gov/youth/programs/flex.html

Peace Corps Volunteer Azerbaijan FLEX State Department gender youth education Camp GLOW leadership writing

Happy 1st day of Summer! Here are some examples of the fun and empowering camps that our Volunteers are organizing around the world for girls and youth of all ages this Summer. 

(Source: peacecorps.gov)

Camp GLOW Camp BUILD Action Brings Change Camp ABC Camp Boys of Uganda In Leadership Development Azerbaijani Boys’ Leadership Experience ABLE Camp Azerbaijan Uganda Botswana Ukraine Peru Guyana youth education gender equality gender issues business skills language environment China eco leadership Peace Corps Partnership Program Peace Corps Peace Corps Volunteers Swaziland Africa 1st day of Summer Summer camp


I took this photo during an excursion to the remote village of Xinaliq in Azerbaijan. Xinaliq is possibly the most remote village in Azerbaijan and at the time we visited the only way in was via a very rough dirt road only accessible with a 4WD vehicle. The villagers of Xinaliq speak their own language, called Ketsh. 

Peace Corps Education Volunteer Peter Mittelholzer

I took this photo during an excursion to the remote village of Xinaliq in Azerbaijan. Xinaliq is possibly the most remote village in Azerbaijan and at the time we visited the only way in was via a very rough dirt road only accessible with a 4WD vehicle. The villagers of Xinaliq speak their own language, called Ketsh. 

Peace Corps Education Volunteer Peter Mittelholzer

Azerbaijan pretty places Eastern Europe Ketsh Xinaliq Peace Corps Digital Library