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Empowering change: Parami University’s Community Solution Awards cultivate student leaders


Parami undergraduate students discussing group assignment

Committed to supporting grassroots communities, Parami University’s Community Strengthening Initiative focuses on tackling various issues that are left unaddressed by the inadequacies of the public systems. The Initiative is designed to empower students and faculty to implement programs that directly benefit communities, aligning with the University’s aim to foster youth leadership for the enhancement and well-being of underserved communities. As a significant step, the Community Strengthening Initiative introduced the Community Solution Awards.


Following a call for project proposals from Parami University undergraduates,  students submitted project ideas to compete for the awards, and four outstanding initiatives: 1) EPSS Hub, 2) Information Literacy, 3) Project Luminary, and 4) Data4Impact were selected. The selected project teams will receive USD 500 to implement their ideas.


Regarding the current status of these projects, Mia Sasaki, a faculty member in the Division of General Education and a coordinator for the Community Solution Awards program, shared, “ [student] teams have learned about using a participatory approach to designing and delivering projects, so I am looking forward to hearing how each step of the feedback cycle goes. I hope that teams, as much as possible, can work alongside their communities during these projects so that the projects are actively shaped to the needs of the communities.”


EPSS Hub Members

EPSS Hub: Enhancing the Presentation and Storytelling Skills 

EPSS Hub focuses on enhancing the speaking and writing skills of youths from a certain underprivileged rural area in Myanmar, strengthening and allowing more freedom of expression and thinking. The project is run by five members and supported by four volunteers, all of whom are Parami first-year students. The team has conducted a needs assessment, crafted a curriculum, and taken essential steps in enrolling rural youths passionate about improving their presentation and storytelling skills, along with English speaking and writing skills. 


EPSS Hub points out, “The education system in Myanmar is based on rote memorization. Due to the lack of practice in their representation and storytelling skills during state school, many Myanmar students have difficulties expressing their stories and tones through speaking and writing. Parami University’s Community Solution Awards (CSA) is significant in addressing these societal needs by nurturing student leadership.”―Thandar Htwe, a member of  EPSS Hub



Information Literacy: Identifying Disinformation and Misinformation 

With its goal to raise awareness and improve information literacy among the youths in underserved areas, the project lays out its objectives as to “Understand the news/information-seeking behaviors of local youths,” “Equip the youths with skills to identify disinformation and misinformation,” “Equip the youths with skills to seek reliable sources of information,” and “Raise awareness in the community about the importance of information literacy.” The project team of 5 sophomore students is carefully developing a workshop curriculum and other related activities, endeavoring to engage with potential host institutions in the targeted area, all in coordination with information literacy experts. The inspiration stems from the project team’s steadfast belief that the ability to discern between accurate and misleading information in this increasingly digital world is of utmost importance, especially among youths from underserved communities, whose vulnerability to fraudulent agents and online while seeking foreign employment opportunities due to a lack of information literacy skills are prevalent. 


 “We strongly believe that supporting youth-led initiatives like the Community Solution Awards is crucial for creating lasting positive change.”―Nyan Htet Htay Win, a member of Information Literacy


Introduction to Instructors from Project Luminary

Project Luminary

Founded by four undergraduate students, two sophomores from the Class of 2026 and two freshmen from the Class of 2027, Project Luminary is a collaborative endeavor with a beautiful alliance. The project’s overarching goal is to champion education equality and equity by democratizing access to quality higher education, thereby leveling the playing field for prospective students from underprivileged and marginalized communities with lower socio-economic backgrounds. 


Currently hosting a two-month-long free-of-charge online program, Project Luminary has a dual mission: strengthening access to higher education for youths from underserved and marginalized communities for youths from underserved and marginalized communities to higher education and fostering a sense of social responsibility and intellectual consciousness. Guided by a commitment to these objectives, the project team has sought the guidance of various experts, successfully mobilized the program, including the recruitment of internationally qualified and experienced instructors, and selected a diverse group of around 35 participants after receiving “an unexpectedly large volume of over 100 applications.” The program is now progressing productively.


“We believe these kinds of support are really crucial as they allow youths an incredible opportunity to explore ideas and potential solutions to problems of marginalized communities that are not otherwise easily unearthed.”―Ei Phyu Sin Win, co-founder and co-lead of Project Luminary 



D‌ata4Impact 

Data4Impact was formed by four sophomore Class of 2026 students, who are also members of the student-led ‘Datalliance’ club at Parami University. It focuses on introduction topics such as data science, data literacy, and scholarship preparation. The initiative to empower youths by enhancing their understanding of the role and use of data literacy and by honing their scholarship preparation skills, ultimately contributing to their communities and addressing disruptions in education caused by political circumstances. The project team has made notable progress, including conducting a needs assessment with students from the targeted community school, reaching out to guest speakers, and coordinating with the identified community school. While awaiting responses and availability, the implementation of the project is poised to begin. 


“Sowing the seed of service mindset, the practice of engaging with their community sets a ground for the youths to grow as civically engaged people, preparing them to become leaders who are willing to contribute back to the community of needs.” ―Thynn Yadanar Su, a member of Data4Impact


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