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Kenyan Muslim Students Meet UCLA Student Leaders

Kenyan Muslim Students Meet UCLA Student Leaders

Seven students from Kenya explore UCLA outreach work in Watts.

Gohar Grigorian Email GoharGrigorian

A group of seven Muslim students from Kenya visited UCLA September 26 as part of a national visit to look at religious diversity, minority communities, local governments, and student groups. At UCLA they held a meeting with several UCLA student leaders who are active in volunteer work in Watts and who work with jailed young people in minority communities in the Los Angeles area.

Six of the students were from the University of Nairobi in the Kenyan capital, and one came from Moi University in Eldoret in western Kenya. The Kenyan students were introduced to:

  • Mohammad Mertaban, director of the UCLA chapter of Mentors for Academic and Peer Support (MAPS);
  • Zahra Aljabri, director of the Incarcerated Youth Tutorial Project;
  • and Roya Faizy, assistant director of MAPS.

There are MAPS organizations at a number of campuses around the country. At UCLA MAPS conducts a high school outreach project working with 9-12th graders at Jordan High School in Watts. The project focuses on helping underserved youth reach their academic and personal potential through tutoring, counseling, workshops, and community events with the aim of raising the number of attendees to four-year colleges and universities.

Incarcerated Youth Tutorial Project sends volunteers to visit wards at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility to help them complete their GED or high school diplomas. "In this process we attempt to foster a relationship of friendship and mentorship between the wards and UCLA volunteers," Zahra Aljabri told the visitors.

The Kenyan students also met with Prof. Allen Roberts, World Arts and Cultures, who is director of the African Studies Center; Prof. Andrew Apter, History, director of the African Studies Interdepartmental Degree Program; Prof. Ned Alpers, History; Prof. Tom Hinnenbusch, History; Manyuan Reffell, third year International Develoment Studies major, and others. They asked questions about the work of the African Studies program and African languages taught at UCLA. The group also participated at the Friday prayer at Kerkhoff Hall.
 
The visitors were:

University of Nairobi:

  • Mr. Daus Omar ABDI.
  • Ms. Faiza Nassir AHMED, Secretary, Muslim Medical Students, University of Nairobi.
  • Mr. Omar Mahmoud ALI, Chairperson, Muslim Student Association, University of Nairobi.
  • Ms. Aisha Omar MOHAMED, Assistant Secretary General, Malindi Education Empowerment Association, Secretary General, Muslim Students Association, University of Nairobi.
  • Mr. Ali Akida WANGARA, Medical School Representative, Muslim Students Association, University of Nairobi, Chairman, Nairobi University Nursing Students Association, Chairman, Muslim Students Association, Musingo High School.
  • Mr. Maingi Faisal Mutua

From Moi University, Eldoret:

  • Ms. Kulthum Harith SWALEH.

 


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