Personal Experiences: Yuka

The project in Ghana was amazing. When we arrived in the country, the first thing I felt was the culture and heart of the Ghanaian people^^For me this was the thing I missed most when I left Ghana. As the African staff expressed, “Wherever we go in Africa, it is still Africa.” There are a lot of places and aspects which are not yet pioneered but I found out that there is a beautiful culture in this country. I could see that some Ghanaian people took care of many kids in the community even if they are not their own. This caring gesture in the community makes the people close and it unites them. In Ghana, when people greet the elderly; they bend their knees and lessen their height for the elderly person. This is how they express their respect towards them and it seemed very familiar to me as an Asian^^ I could also see younger people helping and serving a lot for the elderly people; through this, I realized their respect towards the elderly. I felt peace in these situations and it was just really nice for me to see. Also, kids called me “Madam” and I felt respect from them, just as in Japan when the youth speak to the elderly with respectful words as well. I really miss the kids I played together with and the people whom we worked with.



















I really had a precious time there and I want to visit Ghana again someday!

Yuka Sasada


“Dasuba! Antere! Aninwula!”

We’ve returned from Ghana, inspired from the experiences we’ve shared and filled with fresh motivation for our upcoming projects in the Netherlands.

We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to all those that supported us (financially, morally) in going to Ghana for those few weeks. Each individual’s contribution made it possible for us to have an experience of a lifetime. We were most fortunate to be able to harvest the fruits of the investment of the last few years’ partnership of YSI with CPYWD (Community Partnership for Youth and Women Development).

We worked with CPYWD to complete the construction of the Discovery Center which began during last year’s YSI project, with the foundation of the center along with two summer huts forefront of the entrance. The end of our project resulted in concrete flooring, interior and exterior painting, and re-painting of the summer huts. We were able to see the finished result and take part in the handing over ceremony of (the key to) the Discovery Center, a stirring event commemorating the physically laborious and united collaboration of the villagers, CPYWD and YSI to complete the center.

We also worked with youth in after-school programs in the local villages with CPYWD facilitators, took part in a character education workshop, and then followed up by organizing our own discussion forums for youth and community leaders.

With the launching of CPYWD’s innovative bee-keeping project in Bimbilla, we helped with the setup of the launching ceremony and took part in the festivities.

We’ll each write a blog entry about our personal experiences in Ghana which will be posted over the upcoming days. In the meantime, we’re growing increasingly busy with or personal projects!

New Year. New Team. YSI 011

This is us

Goede dag, leuk je te ontmoeten! / Hello, nice to meet you!

Dank u well / Thank you Utrecht and Kanaleneiland for this wonderful start to these 7 months of YSI. We have already experienced a lot and are very inspired and motivated to give our best efforts to this City and the entire YSI program, here in Utrecht, and also in Ghana and Eastern Europe.

To keep you updated, we are excited to share our experiences here in this Blog!

Tot ziens! / See you!
YSI-Team 011

Cooking Creates Community

On the 1st and 8th of June, I held my personal project with 13 Moroccan women at the local schools of Hart van Noord. The purpose was to create a community of women who realize their influence as mothers and who can be parentally involved with their children in school.

I enjoyed cooking!

We got together on these two days for a session of cooking first Chinese “loempias” (spring rolls) and then a Pennsylvania-dutch cake. This created an atmosphere of working together, fellowship and relaxation for the busy  mothers. A discussion followed the warm morsels which focused on parental involvement with their children in school and also on how to cook healthily for them. There were guests who spoke on the subject and who came to interact with the women and inspire them. The discussions were very lively ones and I was very happy with the interaction and open give and take between the women and the speakers.

In the end I gave out small symbolic gifts of teabag holders and a message of thanks to the women for their participation and contribution.

Communication with the Moroccan mothers was difficult because of the language, but I could  still feel their warmth of heart through their candidness and exuberance. They are such beautiful people–a kind that I have never met before. I made a connection with one of the ladies and was invited to her home for a traditional Moroccan meal and for meeting her family. This was a highlight for me because of the more personal experience that I could share with at least one of the participants through feeling a part of her family for that one evening.

I’m thankful to Hart van Noord that I could work with them to create this project; thankful to all the people who were willing to give a lot of their own time and effort for the success of this project, and most of all I’m grateful that the women themselves could have this special experience as a community of mothers.

Preparation of Loempias

A day for mosaics and discussions

Yesterday 6 YSI members and 6 other young people were at Nieuw Rotsoord Milieupunt, spending some time creating a mosaic artpiece, and having a discussion.

The project was a chance to come together in the spirit of service and address topics which could empower youth. In creating the project my goal was for the youth that attended to be inspired and be able to inspire others.

The topics we talked about were :

Motto’s to live your life by; which people inspire you; problems in society and things we can do to improve them; and values to have when contributing to society.

Although unfinished we did alot to this mosaic work.

The whole group at the end of our discussion.

Thanks to all who attended, and to Nieuw Rotsoord for providing equipment for the mosaics, and a beautiful space to spend some time.