Alumni Empowering Women

March is National Women’s History Month in the United States, and International Women’s Day fell on March 8th. This month, we’ve asked Global UGRAD alumni to share with us what they’re doing to empower women and why it is important.

Meerim Nurlanbekova, Kyrgyzstan, Global UGRAD 2016-17 at East Tennessee State University

Meerim holding a Rosie the Riveter photo containing the words "We Can Do It!".

I believe every ending leads to new beginnings. Global UGRAD was a once-in-a-lifetime journey I would like to live over and over again. I could not believe Global UGRAD was over, but that ending was the beginning of an exciting chapter of my life called “After UGRAD.” Global UGRAD empowered me. It enriched my life in all senses. It changed me; it made me better. Global UGRAD is not about just seeing the United States, it is about seeing the entire world. I wanted all girls in my country to see the things I have seen through this program – the beauty of the world. Girls in my country have a weaker voice or they might not be given a voice at all. They are respected for silence rather than words.


After returning from the U.S. filled with so much inspiration and stories to share, I set a goal to start empowering girls from rural areas of my country. Being a village girl and coming from a financially weak family, I could make my dream a reality despite all the obstacles I faced. Global UGRAD made impossible things possible to me. Now, I believe that only the sky is the limit. I recently launched a project called Village Girl Initiative with the aim to empower girls from rural areas of my country. I want them to start believing in themselves, to reach their full potential and live their dreams, because I know ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! More inspiration is on

Mary Altansukh, Mongolia, Global UGRAD 2016-17 at Missouri State University

Bath salts and decorations for International Women's Day

Its my pleasure to share my project with the Global UGRAD family. I’m currently doing a project for International Women’s Day. We are going to hold a workshop for making skin care products such as bath bombs, coffee scrub, and bath salt. Our main goal is to give a fresh new idea for youth to make precious gifts for their beloved ones. International Women’s Day is quite a big celebration in Mongolia. Almost everyone wants to say thank you and show love for their moms.

Martina Dimoska, Macedonia, Global UGRAD 2016-17 at Kent State University

The 8th of March is celebrated as Mother’s Day in Macedonia. We regularly celebrate the love, appreciation, and affection we have towards the women that raised us and made us better human beings. Even starting from kindergarten we make DIY cards, gifts, and bring flowers to our teachers, mothers, aunts, grandmothers…. On days like these the centers of cities are filled with mini-bazaars which sell fresh roses, different type of flowers, and you can find various types of gifts and surprises to buy. It’s like a lovely red craze between all the grays of the city. People even sell flowers on streets and sidewalks.

All types of flowers line the street as men and a woman with a baby look for one to buy

We constantly have some ‘women empowerment’ events, it doesn’t matter if they’re organized by the U.S. Embassy in Macedonia or some fellow organization where I participate or volunteer. There, you can see the projects that are showcased and highlighted as a reflection of what women contributed and how it changed and shaped our society. It’s amazing to see how a global movement like this is celebrated everywhere around the world, and so differently and uniquely from region to region. But in our country it’s mostly devoted to the mother, and the appreciation we have by celebrating her, which is adorable.

Ion Mocan, Moldova, Global UGRAD 2015-16 at Tennessee Technological University

On the first of March, a few of my colleagues and I will launch the website called The concept of the website is simple yet powerful. It will be a directory of LinkedIn and Twitter profiles of women who are from Moldova and work in the tech-related industries. I got the inspiration for this website from a project that was launched a year ago in the USA: That project was focused only on women in the design industry, while ours is focused on the entire tech industry. Our website will also have a feature that will allow users to suggest persons who have not been mentioned on the website.

This will celebrate the fact that Moldova is a small country but has a lot of strong and talented women. We chose March 1st for the launch because our country celebrates International Women’s Day on the 8th of March. I hope the website will go viral and will encourage many more young women to pursue a career in tech.

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