Greenheart’s Global Impact Grant Awards – December 2021

Greenheart believes in connecting people and planet through fair trade, personal development, environmentalism, and volunteerism.  Our cultural exchange programs help create global leaders by building mutual understanding and fostering diplomacy. And Greenheart encourages our alumni to give back to their communities through our Global Impact Grant.

A Greenheart Global Impact Grant is a financial award of up to $1,000 given to exemplary members of the Greenheart community. It provides current participants and alumni with the opportunity to create, improve, or maintain a community-focused project abroad or at home. As the Greenheart alumni network continues to expand, more and more of our participants are working towards an environmentally sustainable, socially just, and peaceful world.

Congratulations to our December 2021 Awardees

Ayaulym Akhilova, a former FLEX high school student in 2019-2020, plans to teach youth about the importance of combating climate change, to create a sustainable environmental practice in the region.

Since going home to Kazakhstan after her exchange year in the USA, Aya took an active role in her home community. As she is passionate about international education, human rights, mental health, and the environment, Aya  has organized various projects as a FLEX Program City Representative. Her projects aim at raising awareness and educating citizens about specific social issues, developing hard and soft skills, and sharing experiences between participants.  She is an avid language learner, continuing her Spanish that she began during her exchange year in the USA! Aya also helps students learn English by participating in various projects that provide lessons free-of-charge. 

HER PROJECT:  Kyzylorda, a city located in southern Kazakhstan, does not cope well with the waste its citizens produce, so, the city is polluted. There are no recycling centers so people are unable to recycle plastic, paper, etc. Also, Almaty, the biggest city in the country, suffers from polluted air caused by harmful emissions from traffic, heating plants, and privately-owned factories. The organizers are of the opinion that the topic needs to be raised more often among young people and attract more attention from the government.  Thus, the project is a workshop aimed at educating youth about environmental issues and providing an opportunity to learn outside of the class. It is for young people who are passionate and worried, and who are ready to deepen their knowledge and help the planet. The workshop will cover these main issues: global warming and climate change, pollution (air, water, and waste disposal), and deforestation / loss of biodiversity. Different weeks will cover separate topics. Sessions will be delivered by various speakers – eco-activists and experts – to let the audience understand their environmental impact. This workshop will also include exercises like tree planting, trash pickup and recycling so that students have an opportunity to use the knowledge they have attained during the workshop. In order to successfully complete the workshop, participants must then create a plan for their own grassroots project – in their own community to address specific local issues. We will encourage social media campaigns to spread the word and increase awareness of the efforts.

Ayaulym’s project begins in June 2022.

Kamila Almaz wins a grant for her leadership workshop to encourage at-risk youth in Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan.

Kamila is from Kyrgyzstan and attended high school in Washington state on the FLEX program in 2020.  Kamila is a journalism student, documentary film maker, and has kept herself busy with an active role in ecology projects to reduce single-use plastic waste, and a program advisor of the Active Volunteers organization.  She is the Editor-in-Chief of the FLEX Alumni Newsletter and volunteers in the first Kyrgyz hospice, botanical garden, charity marathons, union of banks, historical events, international fairs and more.   

HER PROJECT: Lead the Ship is a leadership program for teenagers and high school students from Tokmok city –which is one of the most criminal cities in our country.  We want teenagers from orphanages, low-income families, and/or with disabilities to participate and be inspired  A leader can be anyone, no matter what place they’re from or what conditions they have. The teenagers of Tokmok are eager for new opportunities and want beneficial information but can’t find it in their city. The leadership program should be the place where like-minded inspired students meet and collaborate to learn new things and become a team to implement their own small projects at their schools. The program will consist of adaptive leadership, critical thinking, problem solving, setting goals, team building sessions along with English language lessons, and a short trip to a beautiful, historical place in Tokmok – Burana Tower. The speakers and coordinators of the sessions will be volunteers who are Future Leaders Exchange Program alumni. Also, professional coaches will be invited to conduct the sessions for kids.  After the sessions, they will be challenged to cooperate and team up to start their own projects at their schools or communities. Each team will have a team-leader/coordinator who will support their project implementation.  

Kamila’s project began in January 2022.


Kirin Taylor wins for her project to establish a community garden to educate and involve children to become stakeholders in environmental sustainability and food security.

Kirin Taylor attended high school abroad with Greenheart Travel in 2015.  Today, she is a researcher, educator, and social entrepreneur. In 2020 she co-founded Taylor Adepoju Group, a social enterprise with the mission of educating children and families on food empowerment and sustainable living. Currently she oversees the after-school children’s programs of 12 12 Academy, while developing other subsidiaries for the group. She is an adjunct professor at St. John’s University in Queens, New York in the Department of Government and Politics, and has taught courses including Politics of Developing Countries, Contemporary Politics, and Introduction to Comparative Politics.  Taylor has helped to bring the voices of those with lived experiences of homelessness and housing insecurity to the United Nations, accompanied by analyses of the existing data and literature, in her previous capacity as Lead Researcher and Policy Advocate at UNANIMA International. She is a politically-engaged pacifist, who has come from both a peace and social justice education and grassroots services background. She received her Master of Arts in International Relations, and an advanced certificate in International Law and Diplomacy from St. John’s University. Kirin is Greenheart International Travel Ambassador, and has previously completed two peace education projects with the help of Greenheart’s Global Impact Grants!  

HER PROJECT:  Kirin is working to establish a community garden to facilitate the education and involvement of children so that they are stakeholders in environmental sustainability and in their own food security.  Through this project children will become aware of methods to grow food and medicinal herbs in an urban environment, and will be brought together with other residents to consider how gardening may reduce stress or save money and provide other benefits for wellness, and a personal connection and responsibility to their natural environment. Objectives are to empower children to create and cultivate their own food, and to be excited about gardening.

Kirin’s project beings in April 2022.

Got a project in mind?  Earn up to $1,000 for an opportunity to create, improve, or maintain a community-focused project abroad or at home.  Follow Greenheart on Facebook and Instagram to see when the next application window opens.

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