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Jamila is a UGRAD alumna and she spent her exchange year in the state of Iowa at Graceland University in 2009-2010. While studying International Relations at GU she has worked in number of positions as an intern, such as Student Ambassador, Admissions office Data Entry assistant, International Advisor’s assistant. After returning back from the US she immediately stepped in a community and volunteered in many projects. She has worked at IREX, OSCE, Peace Corps, AMFA, AzETA Azerbaijan, BP Foundation project and currently she works at ADA University. Jamila also holds a Masters Degree from Istanbul Bilgi University on International Relations. She is soon planning to get her PhD degree on International Education Development.
Why do you want to be a board member? (200 words max.)
I love our Alumni community and the enthusiastic work they keep doing over the years. I have always tried to contribute to our community through different projects, and I think it is about time to join AAA Board and walk together with the team in the upcoming promising projects. The aim is to help AAA to expand the services and organize projects for further development of our community. Teamwork is the best way of improving leadership skills and being a Board member would allow me to get engaged with bright minds and consolidate more AAA activities together. Participating in events, networking with alumni, getting to know new alumni are of my interest and with love and pleasure I would like to support younger alumni in their newly stepped realm. Being AAA board member will connect me with rigid platform in which both the association and myself would benefit simultaneously.
What type of events and projects responding to community needs have you organized in the past? (300 words max.)
In 2011 I won IREX Smile Grant Project. The purpose of the project was to provide a summer camp at a special needs school that would provide the beneficiaries with exposure to ideas normally unavailable to them. During a weeklong summer camp, children ranging from ages 13 – 15 were part of a range of lessons, team building exercises, arts/crafts and games. Activities were often intended to teach specific lessons in leadership, team cooperation, multi-cultural awareness, creative expression and confidence building. The children of the school, having special needs due to a variety of disabilities, also benefited from the project by having outsiders give them positive attention. The project was initiated first by traveling to the school and speaking with the local director. It was requested that she chose the students most capable of learning from the experience. It was decided that the children would range from 7th – 8th grade and that the number of children would range between 12 and 18. Dates were also chosen that would be after the normal school year but before the children were home and might forget about camp.A visit was also paid to the education minister of Lankaran to approve the camp. The camp could be ranked as an overall success. The retention rate of children was extremely high with only one or two not attending every day. By the end of the camp the number of children grew from 12 to 20, with new ones joining each day. By the end of the camp, there was noticeable change in some of the children; particularly those who were initially shy to express creative ideas. Many who were silent and dominated by the more rowdy children in the class began to speak up if they were catching on to an exercise faster than their partners.
What kind of projects would you like to implement at AAA during the next 2 year? (300 words max.)
Women enlightenment and empowerment can lead to a successful path and make world a better place to live in. Women are the actual producers of world citizens and for that matter mothers should be aware of the opportunities and bring up bright children.
In Azerbaijan we do face frequent early marriages and women from their adult years have to stay indoors and take care of their kids. They usually forget about themselves, lose their attractiveness, gain weight, become aggressive, unsociable and uneducated. In this sense, they reflect all of these negative energy to children by acting aggressively. Children grow up without improving their analytical, logical and critical abilities. The main thing they do is to watch cartoon or watch how their Mom deals with house work. There are some preschools which are bad in quality and kids reject going there. As a result, Mom and Babies are spending most of their time at home by repeating the same things everyday. Children rarely or almost never hear their Moms reading stories to them or playing different child development games. Some mothers hold BA degree and desire to learn foreign language but they have to stay with their babies at home and can’t go to any available courses. Timing, babysitting and the budget are possible obstacles.
I would like to organize more women focused projects and create free opportunities for both Mom and Children. In these kind of projects kids can learn by playing, Moms and Moms-to be’s can be socially active, fit and educated.
Within the project, kids will learn how to socialize and interact with others while feeling secure with their Mothers. They will build confidence, develop critical and cognitive skills and at the same time will enjoy trying new things in a different non-traditional place. As Mothers are based home 24/7, some adult interaction and socializing will affect them positively. It is true that mothers love their kids, however interaction in a different set in a while is definitely needed both for their relaxation and as well as for kids’ development. Within the playgroup they can exchange ideas, learn, take care of themselves, etc.