Shameless Pleas for Money
It’s time for some shamelessness on this blog. As if my hubris in believing people read this blog at all wasn’t enough, now I’m going so far as to ask for money. The money isn’t for me, though. Even though an extra few manat sent my way would make my Peace Corps existence here a little more comfortable, this post is really for Shams. I’ve mentioned Shams a few times on this blog before. She’s a FLEX alumnus, having studied in a small town in California, and she’s now a first-year university student at Lenkoran State University (Lənkəran Dövlət Universiteti). She’s also someone who’s active in the community here, trying to implement real projects here to develop Lənkəran and Azerbaijan. Just last weekend, she completed a project she organized, gathering FLEX students from other parts of the country, discussing the importance of environmental stewardship, and doing a park clean-up. These are things that don’t often come from the natives here. Seeing an Azerbaijani do that here is unique and wonderful.
So what does Shams need? And why does she need money? She’s actually applied for a program at Lehigh University, in Pennsylvania, called “Global Village,” geared towards bringing together young business leaders from around the world. I helped her a bit with her application, and I was a bit skeptical because it says specifically that most students who attend are older than 21, the average age is 26, and their age range doesn’t list 18 as a possibility. But I think it’s fair to say that Shams demonstrates “exceptional ability, motivation and maturity.” Through the program, Shams earned a nearly-full scholarship, covering the entire cost of the Global Village seminar, to the not-so-trivial sum of $6500. All she’s left with is finding a way to get there. So ACCELS, the American Council, which administers the FLEX program, has set up a donor website to help Shams get to America one again. I recommend you to this website.
Shams, herself, has written a letter for you to read as you consider contributing to her opportunity to enrich herself, her community, and other leaders from around the world:
My name is Shams Alizada and I am FLEX (Future Leaders Exchange Program) alumni of 2008-2009.
I am 18, and live in a small city in Azerbaijan called Lenkoran. I have mother and 3 sisters. I lost my Dad 4 years ago. That was one of the challenging periods of my life. In Azerbaijan fathers are like girls’ big supports, they take their daughters from place to place, solve their all problems, give them money and etc. Since I lost my Dad, and have a single Mother who works as a teacher I had to overcome all my challenges by myself. I failed a few times, but failures didn’t stop me. I got more encouraged and succeed a lot.
I graduated High School, and got accepted to Lankaran State University with no tuition fee. At the same year I got FLEX scholarship, and went to study in USA. Studying in USA taught me a lot. I learnt how to overcome challenges and interact with different kinds of people. I improved myself, experienced different culture as well I shared my own culture too.
Recently I was informed that I have been awarded an Iacocca/US State Department full-tuition scholarship for Global Village 2010 in the amount of US 6500 $. The program’s purposes are to increase business and industry knowledge, enhance leadership and entrepreneurial skills, and develop global and cultural networking among the participants.
Earning this scholarship is one of the biggest successes in my life. It will influence to my future career on business field. I live in a rural area where female leaders are hardly accepted by most people. The most suitable jobs for females are: doctor, teacher, nurse. Even if we have very few women who do work in business field, most don’t have educational backgrounds in this field. Business opportunities are held mostly by males. So this program is giving me a great opportunity to get more educated in business field and to be able to realize new international projects in the future. It will influence to my plans five years from now and the whole my life. After five years from now I will have graduated from university. I will apply to study my master’s degree on international business in USA, because USA is a democratic country and have an improved educational system. I see myself as a highly educated person with great professional and personal skills five years from now. I will apply my gained knowledge in my country, realize international projects and be able to bring innovations to my country. By that time female leaders will be more accepted in my country. I want to be a role model for them.
Unfortunately the scholarship does not provide the airfare ticket and meals. The airfare ticket is for 1700$ and the cost of meals and personal expenses estimated at between USD $900-$1600 during the six-week program. I have to have all money until the May 10th.I feel sorry that I and my family can not afford it too. I live with a single Mother who gets 160$ Manat in a month and I get stipend from university that is 34 Manat and all of our expenses are included to this. I really need the support. I hope you can help me to make my goals to real. Any amount would be appreciated.
You can help here.