Children are the future of Africa, invest in their unfolding. Mohammed Jimale.

Every child needs  an advocate because they cannot look after their own interests. I get excited whenever I meet someone who is working with children.

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Mohammed Hassan Jimale, a fearless young leader from Somalia, has children written all over him. His face glows at the mention of kids.

He has worked with various NGOs and many organizations that target the most vulnerable children.

His interest is in offering psychological programs and engaging the community in issues that affect children like early marriages and gender sensitization.

When I was growing up I witnessed a lot of suffering by children as a result of the war in Somalia.

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Most of them were rendered homeless, orphans and subjected to extreme poverty and lack of education.

I lost my mother at the age of seven and the only adult figure was my grandmother who was too old to manage life.

They say it does not rain forever and I am grateful for being able to access my education in both Kenya and Somalia to university level.

Through volunteering and working for various organizations, they have educated over 6,000 children. He is also a YALI E.A Alumnus.

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Africans will have massive progress when we unite. 

As young leaders, we should intend to learn the art of seizing opportunities and developing our interpersonal and leadership skills.

Jimale’s vision is to run a top position in an international organization and manage projects that address helpless children.

I am constantly working on improving my skills. My calling is a big one. To help educate the next emerging crop of leaders.

They are the future of Africa and we must teach them to be patriotic to their countries and to love themselves ever so.

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Success is an acquired taste of hard work, you want it? Acquire some taste. Darlene Keza.

If you know me personally, then you must know my belief in the power of sharing stories. Stories define where we came from, where we’re going. They also unite us.

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I am extremely excited to share the story of Darlene Keza, a daring and indomitable young woman from Burundi.

She is the founder of Stories Behind Success (SBS), a communication agency that aims to motivate, inspire and educate Burundian youth through a magazine, leadership conferences and a blog.

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I love that I stood my ground and pursued a degree in Communication at the University of Bujumbura.

My dad insisted that I study medicine because journalists are not well paid in Burundi. He was adamant about it and even threatened to not pay my fees if I went ahead to study Communication.

I knew what I wanted and was uncompromising about it. It was hard but I had my way.

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After our first leadership conference at SBS, we had tens of young entrepreneurs who began their businesses and are currently in the growth phase.

Determined to equip the youth in her country,  Darlene’s vision is to help the youth create employment through entrepreneurship.

She is working on expanding the organization to other East African countries and own rights to a TV station by 2026.

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I was selected to attend YALI EA this year and it has been life changing. I was amazed at the great initiatives the youth are doing. These stories must be told.

At SBS, we always encourage the youth to have a crazy dream, to disrupt the status quo.

Always work with others and follow your dreams. Actually, do not just follow them, take charge of them.

When lovely Keza is not working, she loves listening to music, sports and social spaces.

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I help the youth create their own employment. Kamya DomNick.

Have you noticed how there’s an increase of young Africans working tirelessly to transform this Continent?

It blows my mind every single day when I meet or read about brave young people who are fearlessly transforming their communities.

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Kamya DomNick is one of these lionhearted fellows. He is easy going , well-mannered and polite. Having a conversation with him was riveting.

With two of his friends, they founded Bidii Yetu in 2014, a self help group located in the  Western region of Kenya. The aim of the group is to connect the youth and engage them in finding solutions for problems that affect them.

Bidii Yetu is swahili for Our Effort. All projects are funded by the youth or well wishers. The group tends to shy away from Political influence or radicalization.

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They have directly engaged 30 youth through poultry farming, entrepreneurship, renewable energy and training.

You know my life was not very easy. I lost my dad at three years and had to drop out of school. 

A good Samaritan took me back to school and paid my fees up to University. I lost my mother as well. It was hard.

DomNick pursued a Bachelors Degree in Social Work and Social Administration  at the University of Makerere in Uganda. He is also a YALI RLC 2017 alumnus.

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He has worked for several Non Governmental organisations in the field of research.

He also  worked at Innovations for Poverty action in 2013 as Community Field Assistant and at Evidence action as process monitoring and coverage validation officer.

My vision is to help the youth create their own employment. 

There are many opportunities for everyone in life and what matters is if you can spot the open doors and walk through them.

My mantra in life is to associate with people who think differently and to overcome fear.

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Leadership comes at a cost and I am always willing to pay. Adams Cassinga.

Adams Cassinga is one of those buoyant people with an eye for detail and exactingly high standards.

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He is a YALI East Africa alumnus 2017, a YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship fellow 2017 and a Community Solutions program finalist.

He is the founder and director for Conserv, a nature conservation aligned NGO which promotes scientific tourism, Fights poaching, encourages participatory conservation and ensures food security through subsistence farming in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

He was born and bred in a middle class family until the civil war in Congo  that devoured all their family wealth and left them in utter poverty.

His father had to sell the remaining five cows to send him to South Africa.

This was after seeking help from one of his friends who promised to take Adams to school.

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He was in shock after arriving in South Africa as a young boy and no one came to pick him up at the airport. His called his father’s friend for over 24 hours in vain.

A security guard felt sorry for me and took me to his place where I slept.

After a few days, he took me to Hillbrow, probably the most dangerous part of the city at the time. A place that was infested with drugs, prostitution and gangs.

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It turned out that my supposed countrymen he took me to were actually Nigerians and not Congolese.

That was how he found his way in to the Nigerian Internet advance fee scams and drug peddling.

He worked his way up and made loads of money that he used to help his family back home who were oblivious to what was happening to him.

It had to all come to an end after the police got involved and rival gangs killed his closest friends.

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Being very proactive and after being in hiding for some time, he landed a job with a South African newspaper as a writer tackling community stories.

That was how I kick started a career as a journalist and soon started scooping awards. 

After a series of short courses in journalism, I joined Rhodes university and pursued a diploma in journalism.

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I was at the peak of my career with my great investigative journalism.

In 2006, I was shot three times and left for dead when I went to investigate a story of an illicit circumcision school. 

The story attracted a lot of attention locally and internationally and I scooped a few awards, including the Caxton’s ‘ No guts, no story’ award for showing courage in the face of danger.

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The fearless young leader also studied environmental management and a project management diploma at the National Occupational Institute and at the Damelin College in South Africa respectively.

He worked as a consultant in the mining industry across Africa before dedicating his life to protecting the environment three years ago.

With Conserv Congo, we currently give support to 400 park rangers across the country. We empower with specialized training, logistic support and their general well being.

We are fighting erosion in the eastern DRC by planting 30 000 trees on a surface of 50ha.

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In the process, 100 women are empowered with temporary jobs, we green the village and save the environment.

We are running a community project on the outskirts of Kinshasa where we are farming vegetables on a surface of 35ha.

Next year, we intend to add livestock as part of our food security program. We have over 40 youths and women employed on a temporary basis.

Talking to Adams Cassinga has taught me to focus on the NOW. To never give up and keep striving for excellence.

Well in fearless leader, keep lifting others with your valiant spirit.

Truly,  trust Adam Smith when he said, “The real tragedy of the poor is the poverty of their aspirations”.

 

 

I intend to frustrate and chase away poverty from my community . Alex Mbise.

Triumphant stories have away of transforming the listeners. Okay, maybe me. Struggles create opportunities for us to gain strength and to become wiser and better.

Alex Mbise has a powerful story of overcoming obstacles. I mean, this young leader enrolled for primary school by himself at nine years making him the oldest in his class.

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One bright morning, he got tired of the poverty at home and walked to a local school and straight to the principal’s office. Alone!

He lacked the necessary basic items like shoes, uniform, school fees and even writing materials but that did not stop him.

He had a drive that was stronger than his age and the voice of his encouraging mother who has always been his greatest cheerleader.

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He confesses that everyday as he walked bare feet and hungry to school, he prayed to God and declared poverty his number one enemy.

Manifestation of a great future  became his second name over the long walks. He visualized a great future and meditated upon it day and night.

Out of his six siblings, he is the only one who managed to get to University. He graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Education at Tumain University-SMMUCo under a government sponsorship.

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I ran small businesses mainly selling plastics bags and boiled eggs in open air markets twice every week (Wednesday and Saturday).

I saved the money and used it to invest in the rearing of chicken and goats. This was how I paid for my Primary and secondary school education.

I was also able to buy uniform and books. Skipping school to look for money wasn’t fun, but it got me to where I am today.

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Alex is the founder of Tanzania Small Entrepreneurs Network (TASEN), an organization that empowers the community through promoting social entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity.

This helps in solving the unemployment problem and fights against poverty in Tanzania.

The organisation has over directly empowered over 1,000 young people through various forms of training.

Africa is the land of opportunities. Young people should not give up. They should find solutions for problems affecting their communities.

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I love learning. I read a lot.  I also apply for as many leadership training courses as I can.

I recently graduated from YALI RLC E.A. It was amazing sharpening my leadership and interpersonal skills.

This lionhearted young leader has a passion for politics and has been politically active in his community in Arusha.

His vision is to  mentor thousands of youth. He also has a clear plan of running for office as a Member of parliament in 2025.

As a young husband and father, he owes his balance of work and family to his very supportive wife who is also passionate about civic leadership.

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If you happen to be in Tanzania, connect with him over his favorite meal of ugali accompanied by anything spicy.

He is also looking for potential partners to be able to reach as many youth as possible.

We wish you the very best Alex, keep soaring.

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My radio frequency is caring for others and being fearless! Noeline Kirabo.

Someone said when life hands you lemons, sell them and buy some pineapples. I really adore pineapples. Lemonade, not so much. But I digress.

When I met Noeline Kirabo, I could not help but notice her self awareness, her confident humility and a contagious smile that is bigger than life.

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A few minutes in to our conversation, she revealed that life had not been very easy for her.

I am the founder of KYUSA which means change in Luganda.

Our main objective is to empower the youth who are ready to join college and train them on how to become employable.

By the end of 2016, we had directly reached 250 young adults.

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My mother battled with cervical cancer which I found out after clearing high school and could not join college because we had to pay for her expensive treatment.

It was a huge blow for the young Noeline who encouraged her mother and opted to enroll in free libraries and read everything she could lay her hands on. This changed her life.

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My mum recovered fully.

It was a hard time considering to the fact that she raised us as a single parent and I had battled with identity crisis through teenage hood that had led to depression.

When I finally met my dad, he died before I could get all my answers.

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This confident leader taught herself computer packages. Her tenacity and natural people skills got her a job with the Youth ministry in Uganda.

Her fearlessness got her top jobs with NGOs that needed a masters degree or PHD as qualifications (She was not qualified) but she applied anyway.

My mum told me that I can be anything I wanted and I could change and shape my world from a young age. This has kept me going all my life.

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She has studied social entrepreneurship in India, is a YALI RLC 2017 alumna, among other accomplishments. She uses her spare time to offer motivational talks in schools.

I always tell young people to pursue what they are passionate about.

To better someone else’s life. Our vision at KYUSA is to eradicate youth unemployment in Uganda and expand to other countries.

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Keep soaring and changing many lives Miss madam, we appreciate you.

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My hands were made to fashion and that’s what they do. Keziah Elaine Ayikoru,

There is a power and attraction that a woman who is truly comfortable with her femininity has.

When I met Keziah Elaine Ayikoru, I was deeply drawn to her subtle yet assertive tone, her good posture and confidence.

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Keziah is the founder of House of Kea, a fashion brand that is taking Uganda by storm. The apparel is tailor made to each individual and varies depending on the client.

She loves using the African print in her collection because it commands attention, is vibrant, colorful and speaks about the African people.

Keziah employs ladies from disadvantaged backgrounds and has changed their families for the better.

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She is an alumna of the Cultural and Development East Africa Fashion Incubation program 2017 and the prestigious YALI Regional Center program, 2017.

I have always loved the arts since childhood. I however took a detour to pursue my other love, Architecture at Ardhi University in Dar es Saalam, Tanzania where I graduated top of my class in 2013.

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I was later called back to work in Tanzania. I worked in the Corporate world for two years and was also designing clothes for family & friends on the side.

I loved architecture and my job but I was not satisfied. Something was missing. My contract ended early 2016. I decided to pursue fashion.

My lovely employer was not having it. They offered me an extension with a better contract. Very good Money by the way. (laughs).

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But as much as I loved my work and employer, I had made up my mind.

My family and friends were beyond shocked. How do you leave a comfortable lifestyle to start a business in the unknown?

Well, to me fashion had become my second name! It was calling out to me day and night! True story.

This well spoken fearless lady has a vision of building House of Kea in to a household name and offer employment to hundreds of families.

She also wants to mentor children gifted in the Arts to make the right career choices in collaboration with various organizations.

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Know who you are. Have a high sense of purpose. Seek God. Seize opportunities. Work hard and your dreams will come true.

If you happen to visit Uganda, connect with Keziah and enjoy some matoke and beef with G-nut sauce.

I must say though Ugandans do know how to present a good sumptuous meal.

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I refused to get married after primary school and this changed my life. Tashrifa Mohamed.

True humility is indeed thinking less of yourself and more of others. Tashrifa Abubakar Mohamed exudes such modesty that cannot go unnoticed.

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She founded Lamu Archepelego University Student Association, a community based organisation whose aim is to empower and offer education opportunities to the girl child in Lamu, Kenya.

 

The organization has directly reached tens of schools and hundreds of girls.

She was also a former director at Malindi Islamic Center for Orphans and a mentor to many children.

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I was very curious to know about her journey after she hit the headlines in 2011 for winning the Lamu cultural festival several times and getting a sponsorship to showcase her henna art at the Cincinnati museum in the U.S.

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I grew up in extreme poverty in Pate Island. Girls were not allowed to go to school.

My mum, a single mother and my uncle paid attention to my plea and allowed me to join Primary school.

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After Primary school, everyone in the community expected me to go by the norm and get married. I refused.

I was the only girl to join High school from my community and had to do this in a different area. I moved to Lamu.

After High school, I moved to Mombasa and worked in beauty salons to save money for college. I could not go back home.

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I got selected to join Pwani University where I pursued Archaeology and Sociology.

I get such deep satisfaction when training girls in my community through art and raising funds for their High school education.

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My community now looks at me differently and every parent wants to take their girls to school.

Tashrifa got selected for the prestigious YALI program and admits that the skills she learned helped her secure a job as a probation officer with the Ministry of Interior & Co-ordination. Her role will be empowering and transforming the offenders’ lives.

Life has taught me to mentor others, to work very hard and smart and to always aim at disrupting the status quo.

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I am very young and still rocking second floor and my vision is to empower thousands of young people.

Keep at it Tashrifa! If you happen to connect with this fearless young woman in Lamu Island, do surprise her with a meal of Tanduri and vegetable stew- It’s her favorite!

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My script reads animals, food and it has changed my community! Sombo Titan.

The effects of war are widespread and can most likely be long term or short term. women and children suffer unspeakable atrocities in particular.

This is what happened in Central Africa Republic in 2012.

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Sombo Titan, could not watch and wait and out of need, founded C.E.N.A (Centrafrique Avenir) whose main objective is to create employment, offer education and empower his community through various sustainable forms of businesses in agriculture.

Through C.E.N.A’s center, the villagers are encouraged to invest/give animals like chicken, goats, cows and even pigs, yes pigs!  with a 100% animal back guarantee after six months upon reproduction of the animals.

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The villagers who invest get full education sponsorship for their children. The youth are employed to oversee the project.

The organization also partners with many villages who offer them a parcel of land for cultivation of agricultural produce ranging from cassava, potatoes, tomatoes etc

 

The produce is then sold in different towns with the income directed at training of the youth in their areas of interest.

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Currently, they have an alumni of accountants, merchants, entrepreneurs among others.

The impact has been huge with tens of youth from the villages running all the projects.

Sombo is working on defending his PHD in governance and regional integration early next year at the Pan African University of Governance, Humanity and Social Sciences.

I used to walk seven kilometers to go to school and many of my friends quit because of the harsh conditions.

I vowed to pursue higher studies, develop myself and come back to my community and give back.

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I am currently building a private school in my village. I have learned to always test out my ideas. Try it, it might surprise you.

I love the networks I have made over the years.

Just recently, I was selected for the YALI RLC EA entrepreneurship class and it was an immersion in to a wealth of running successful businesses that transform communities.

I love applying for programs that help me grow and help others while at it.

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Keep soaring Sombo and changing lives. We can’t wait to visit again and enjoy a plate of ugali, meat and sakasaka (cassava leaves in palm oil).

 

Lancing through his twenties for young freelancers and children. Romain Gabiro.

and age mate Samuel Tuyizere,

Freelancing is growing at a very fast rate in Africa. Young people are continually embracing offering services based on flexible hours to multiple clients at the same time.

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20 year old Romain Gabiro in collaboration with his co founder and age mate Samuel Tuyizere, runs an online platform, ejobu.com which connects freelancers and employers.

Through this platform, they have created employment for seven students in Rwanda.

After facing serious hardships as students in campus, we did a research and found out that most students in Rwanda are broke most of the time yet they have many talents and only need opportunities.

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We offer training services to students on freelancing and on how to make money online.

Our vision is to create at least 500 jobs by 2020 and to scale to other African countries.

Romain’s childhood was not easy after loosing his mother at eight years old.

He became responsible and had to take care of himself. In high school, he began clubs and even managed a radio station.

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My biggest event to organize so far was last year dubbed “Walk to remember” which the president of Rwanda attended.

He also founded Just Spell, an English program for primary school going children which is currently running as a pilot in four secondary schools.

I am 20 years old and I do not believe in being enabled or spoon fed. Thou shall work hard and smart, okay?

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It is wise to always follow your dreams, be confident and fish for a mentor that is already successful in what you are pursuing.

This saves you a lot of mistakes. For me this is just a beginning.