Catalyzing Change: A Teen's Environmental Activism Journey in Egypt
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Catalyzing Change: A Teen's Environmental Activism Journey in Egypt

Stanford University’s Deliberative Democracy Lab and the Rustic Pathways Foundation collaborated to offer high school students the Climate Leaders Fellowship program. The program challenged students like Salma to create a project tailored to the needs of their community and engage with other participants around the world.

Read about her project below!

Salma Alkaff
Age 17
Metropolitan School
Cairo, Egypt

Hello everyone, my name is Salma Alkaff, a 17-year-old high school junior from Yemen. I currently live in Cairo, Egypt. If there’s a word to describe me and my interests it would be environmental actions. I am an environmental activist.

Ever since I got exposed to the awareness and knowledge of the cause that is happening in the world I have been passionate about it like no other, I have decided to pursue a career is sustainable development because I wish to be a part of a change in this world, and this fellowship was my beginning I cannot wait for everything else that I will hopefully be a part of.

In my community one of the biggest problems is waste, so waste was what my group and I mostly focused on. For my project, my team and I collaborated to host an event in our school, to raise awareness about the issue, recycle the waste in front of the students and make sure to raise money for our newly launched Go Green program in school.

We collected donations by inviting students to our event with an online ticket fee. We focused on middle school and high school. We have realized that not all students are aware of the cause or solutions to it, so we made sure to have an event full of activities and presentations to give them such awareness.

About 100 students got impacted and we collected about 600 dollars! After the presentation we found a lot of students throwing the trash, and cleaning after themselves.

Participating in the Climate Leaders Fellowship makes me feel proud and happy. I feel like I have made change to this world and to my community. The fellowship helped me gain confidence and approach my audience. I made sure to influence them and inspire them, and it was all with the help of the fellowship that I met new people with the same interest and saw what they did for their project, which gave me the gut and confidence to start my action.

Even if the current cycle of the fellowship ended, the program that I launched with the help of the fellowship will never stop. I will make sure to keep growing it more and more for all the future generations in school.


About the Author

Kayla Anzalone

Kayla joined Rustic Pathways in 2020 as the Director of Special Projects. She has nearly a decade of experience in communications and marketing. At Rustic Pathways, Kayla is dedicated to helping high school students discover their passion for exploring the world through summer travel programs. She drives impactful initiatives to empower students through meaningful travel experiences worldwide. Based in San Jose, California, Kayla loves the outdoors, live music and travel.