Why should you invest in East Africa’s Youth?

“We have seen first hand, through meeting students from Kenya and Tanzania, that this program unlocks dreams and provides the support and a path to lead successful lives.” — Betty and Charles Stallings, Asante Africa Foundation & LEI Match Sponsors

Being a catalyst for youth empowerment and growth is core to Asante Africa Foundation, and all of its Programs. The Leadership Entrepreneurship and Incubator (LEI) Program focuses on equipping youth with the skills necessary to successfully transition from school to employment and become catalysts for change in their community by taking to heart the credo to “Pay it Forward”.

“We visited East Africa last summer and met some of the youth impacted by the LEI Program…” So began Charles and Betty’s journey into the Asante Africa community, which — like many other people’s experience, is triggered by an eye opening experience in Africa. The Stallings came away impressed, and chose to become sponsors, and also get involved in LEI. “We chose Asante Africa Foundation because we were very impressed with how carefully students are selected to be involved in the program. Our desire was to have part of our legacy live in these four young people, who, without this support, would never be able to reach their potential or realize their dreams.”

Betty with Asante Africa’s LEI Coordinator, Anne Muli, Kenya

But, why did they decide to support youth in Africa?

“We need to think globally as we look to the future of our world, and Africa will become an ever increasing presence in that future.” Over half of the global population growth until 2050 is expected to happen in Africa. The more we do to prepare the leaders of tomorrow, the more positive their impact will be on our world.

“Potential, without opportunity, is lost.”

They recognized that the youth in Africa have potential, but often not opportunity. “The country needs effective leadership to deal with the myriad issues and challenges it faces. Education, exposure to leadership, entrepreneurial skills, and principles, will position these young people to strengthen their country, while they build a better future for themselves and their families.” They continue,“ Youth today must have commitment, competence, and confidence gained through education, to be able to reach their goals and experience success. The LEI Program is instrumental in providing opportunities for these qualities to flourish.”

To those who are considering the possibility of sponsoring, Betty and Charles say, “As sponsors, we have the power to truly open opportunities for young people”

“Now, that money can go even farther than you think.”

Through September 4, donations to the LEI Program will be matched by 10 individual sponsors, dollar for dollar, up to $40,000. Each dollar you donate has double the impact. The funds will go to the LEI Program and the 2018 East African Youth Leadership Summit, a gathering of 100+ focused youth who are excited about their future and the change they can produce in their lives and the lives of others.

Students at the 2017 LEI Summit

Betty and Charles have a message to all the youth who are trying each day to work towards their dream. “You have been chosen as a young person with potential and desire to reach your dreams. The road will not be straight or without potholes, but with a passion to succeed and many folks who are supporting you on this journey… will make it. We are cheering from your balcony!”

Trust but verify. Check out the LEI white paper and 5-year impact study published in 2017 if you want some hard data on what the LEI Program is all about and why it is so critical that we work together to build it.

Why should you invest in East Africa’s Youth? was originally published in Asante Africa Foundation on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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