“We, the youth today, are powerful and capable. We should dream and aim higher and never let our current situation determine our destiny. Whatever the situation, keep focus. Our family, community, and world in general are waiting for us to make positive changes.” — Lepilali, Asante Africa Scholar
Generating sustainable impact and local ownership are at the heart of Asante Africa’s work, and this vision is especially embodied by our Leadership Entrepreneurship and Incubator program (LEI). It ensures that the most capable demographic of the different populations that we work with, are equipped with the necessary practical skills to not only thrive on their own, but also overcome obstacles to transform their communities into thriving spaces.
These opportunities for the youth are created by the support of our generous donors. LEI alum and beneficiary, Lepilali and his sponsor Mike Carter, are but one example of the massive impact of Asante Africa’s LEI program and Pay It Forward.
When Lepilali heard the announcement about Asante Africa Foundation’s scholarships at school in 2011, he decided to give it a shot. At the time, he and his family were unable to fund his education. Knowing that he would likely never be able to afford to enroll in a reputable tertiary institution knocked the wind out of his sails. He gave up on his dream of becoming a doctor and set his sights instead on completing secondary school and then joining his family to maintain upkeep of their small farm and 10 cows. This was all until he got accepted for an Asante Africa scholarship, which turned his life around.
Although sponsoring a younger child’s education had a stronger emotional appeal, Mike Carter decided to sponsor a university student because, in his words, it “helps to close the loop”. Mike’s generous donation gave Lepilali the financial security he desperately needed.
With his biggest obstacle overcome, his hope was restored. “I started to dream and re dream. I built that big picture of becoming a doctor. I remember writing Dr. Ngoilenya in my exercise book cover. I was able to move from being number 4 in a class of 200+ students to number 1 top student.” When Lepilali graduated high school, he was top 1% of the nation. His A- was in physics, biology, chemistry & math, which made it a bigger deal. Now he’s studying to be a Cardiologist in Tanzania’s highly-ranked medical school.
Lepilali has chosen to “pay it forward” by aligning his dreams for his community’s development with his personal aspirations. Besides teaching members of his community, he hopes to better the healthcare system of his village by helping to provide accurate diagnosis and treatment of the easily curable diseases that plague his people. In personal recognition of the value of education, Lepilali’s NGO, Youth Dream Mapping Organization (YDMO), is focused on inspiring youth like himself to “dream and re dream” like he did. YDMO hopes not only to encourage the youth to have ambitious aspirations, but to also gain parental support for them in their quests and to reduce or eliminate the chances of setbacks like child marriages.
Besides sponsoring his education, Mike has the opportunity to enjoy Lepilali’s friendship, and to encourage, and in turn be encouraged by him. Mike recalls, “On my first visit, I traveled to meet his family in the rural area and immediately formed a bond with him and his family.” Beyond personal contact, Mike and Lepilali keep in touch via email and Facebook updates. Mike describes Lepilali as, “the kind of young person that doesn’t need much encouragement — he just needs opportunity.” Mike and Lepilali’s relationship has proven to be mutually beneficial and hearing about Lepilali’s progress bears much import for Mike, “Lepilali has inspired me to set goals and dreams and work hard for them. I want to tell the youth to set their goals high but “never exceed them.” When you get close to meeting your goals, move the bar higher. You can do more and more. Never quit.”
Mike’s generous donation has set Lepilali on a path to a very bright future, not just for him, but for his family and community. Join our LEI match and inspire another success story. We are curious to hear about what opportunities your donation creates. Asante Sana!