Going Big in South Africa
What a year! What a week! Two years ago, I set out on a crazy journey of helping African youths discover their light – their creative talents – and supporting them to shine this light by transforming their creative talents into solutions to critical challenges facing their communities. I founded an organization called Global Leading Light Initiatives, a grassroots initiative with a global focus in mind aimed at enhancing the capacities of youths to be real assets, and not liabilities, to their communities.
Two years on, with no funding, GLLI has been able to generate community impact which most million-Rand-funded organizations only dream of achieving. This achievement has been thanks to tens of passionate local and international volunteers who have been attracted by our work to give their time and other resources.
The Gather Course has made me understand how many assets I have and how I have been under-utilizing them. And so I decided to go big.
At the end of September, in collaboration with the Association of Universities in South Africa, our organization brought the 2018 National Entrepreneurship Week to our community. GLLI hosted the first Student Entrepreneurship Roadshow at Walter Sisulu University, featuring 3 of South Africa’s hottest celebrities and officials from the Association of Universities of South Africa, headed by their CEO, Dr. Norah Clark.
Through this event, hundreds of emerging entrepreneurs from Walter Sisulu University and 6 high schools were inspired to create solutions to critical challenges. Students were offered great sponsorship opportunities to become innovative.
In mid-October, we finally we held our Community Visioning Summit! It was a wonderful day, with a total of 69 participants – 41 students, including 15 from Walter Sisulu University and 26 from 5 high schools in Mthatha as well as 28 adults, 1 official from the Department of Social Development, 8 teachers, 3 university lecturers, 4 social workers and 12 community members.
The youths taught us many things on that day and based on what we are seeing in our community, we can “Build prosperity on resources in which poor people are rich” i.e. their talents, skills, knowledge and culture.
The day after our Community Visioning Summit, I was invited by the department of education to make a presentation at a district teachers’ workshop. A majority of high schools in Mthatha district were represented by a teacher at the workshop. I gave an overview of the Community Visioning Summit and shared the experiences with them. Most of the teachers were disappointed they couldn’t make it.
I made a presentation about Iziko, our community and school-based parenting program aimed at building healthy child-adult relationships to support young people achieving their full potential.
It was a great honor. Many teachers want to join the “Iziko.” They also want our student-entrepreneurship program in their schools.
Dieudonne Anumbosi Allo from the Eastern Cape in South Africa is the Founder and CEO of the Global Leading Light Initiatives, a registered non-profit organization formed in 2014 on a strong conviction that collective prosperity can be achieved in Africa and globally through coordinated grassroots initiatives aimed at creating nurturing and enabling environments for children and youths.