Paying it Forward

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There are very few people in the world who can truly say that they understand what hardship is. There are even fewer that can rise from hardship and become a success. But within this select group of people, there lies a determination and desire to help others succeed and grow. Hardship breeds humility and an understanding of what is important, but also breeds that desire to “pay it forward”. In that these people want to do what they can to give opportunities to others, just like how they were given opportunities themselves. A man that epitomizes this spirit and desire is Richmond Smith, the Founder of the Heritage Charity Foundation in Ghana.

A difficult childhood that culminated with 5 years on the street was interrupted by a Good Samaritan who saw the potential in him. This person ended up supporting him through his education, into university, where he ended up travelling to India to complete an MBA with a focus on Project Management. Just as this Good Samaritan supported him throughout an important phase of his life, he wants to do the same for youth who are or were in the same situation that he once was. This led him to the creation of the Heritage Charity Foundation (HCF), which aims to provide entrepreneurship skills for youths with the aim of reducing youth unemployment in Ghana, while transforming youth into sustainable changemakers in their communities.

Ghana is a country that is struggling to develop and utilize policies that will positively affect their youth, something that occurs within many countries around the world. In Ghana, 48% of men and women in the age group of 18-35 finds themselves unemployed (according to a report by the World Bank), and even though the ideals of entrepreneurship have spread through Africa like wildfire, the majority of the older generation still sticks to the mentality of Education -> Graduate -> Employment, which could be considered the safer and more stable option.

But Richmond and his organization are working to change this mentality, and in turn reduce the youth unemployment rate in his country through the teaching, training and development of entrepreneurship skills and sustainable practices, primarily focusing on the organic agriculture industry.  Through their programs, they want to spur on entrepreneurial growth that can spread throughout the country, and in turn help support the nation as a whole through bringing a generation of sustainable agri-business entrepreneurs through to help develop and grow their agriculture sector further.

It is a very ambitious goal, one that many people have tried to do over the years throughout the continent of Africa. Some have succeeded, and some have failed, but in Richmond’s case, no matter what the outcome is, he is determined to learn and grow from what he is doing with HCF. In his own words:

“Being a failure doesn’t mean the end of the tunnel. Failures are rather one of the best tools that one is expected to learn from to be able to start all over again, but rather using a totally different strategy. One can never be successful without being a failure because failure and efforts results into success.”

This is a sentiment that matches the kind of person that Richmond is. Someone who is out there working to “pay it forward”, create opportunities for the youth, and do his best to make an impact with the tools and knowledge he has been given. That spirit and desire he holds to make a difference I believe will resonate within each and every person that he works with within HCF; which means that there will be a generation of men and women who want to help and make a difference in their country and their world. We need more of that.

A.Y.

 

To learn more about the Heritage Charity Foundation, you can find them online on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Heritage-Charity-Foundation-1522364514750541/, or you can email them at hcfghana@hotmail.com.

 

 

 

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Episode #18 – No Fear of Falling Podcast – Nigerian Women’s Bobsled Team

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In this episode, we head to Houston, Texas, USA to talk to the three members of the NIGERIAN WOMEN’S BOBSLED TEAM, Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere, and Akuoma Omeoga, who are currently crowdfunding on GoFundMe to raise funds for training and competition costs as they aim for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

To date, there have been 7 athletes from the continent of Africa who have competed in the Winter Olympics. None of them have competed in Bobsled, and none of them have been women. So these three are breaking new ground in their journey, and in turn inspiring a generation of athletes in Nigeria and Africa to look outside the normal, and to aim to do something different.

But not only are they breaking new ground, they are doing it in a DIY fashion; to the point of making their own training equipment, conducting their own social media, and combining the training schedules of an Olympic athlete within their own lives which already have higher educational studies and careers within them.

Their journey so far has been documented by a number of different media outlets, both in print, television, and on the internet. For some, this exposure would go to their heads, but these three continue to maintain that what they are doing is so much bigger than just them, and have stayed humble and selfless within it all.

We talked about their journey so far, the nuances associated with learning Bobsled,    the impact that they hope to leave in their continent through what they are doing, and how failure is a way to learn, grow, and develop yourselves into a stronger person.

To check out their updates, news, and to find out more, you can check out the following links:

http://www.bsfnigeria.com (Official Website)

https://www.facebook.com/Bobsled-Skeleton-Federation-Of-Nigeria-1698794513771544/ (Facebook)

https://twitter.com/BSF_Nigeria (Twitter)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt8zECC75IJhqwRtR1R81dA (YouTube)

https://www.instagram.com/bsfnigeria/ (Instagram)

Episode #8 – No Fear of Falling Podcast – Tawanda Mutukwa (Chief Technology Officer, Hurukuro)

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In this episode, we head to Zimbabwe to talk to TAWANDA MUTUKWA, the Chief Technology Officer for HURUKURO, a Harare-based tech firm that is working to use technology (specifically mobile technology) to revitalize and support the agricultural industry of Zimbabwe, and other southern Africa countries.

Zimbabwe was once known as the breadbasket of southern Africa, with some of the highest agricultural outputs in the region, but political measures created a situation where agricultural yields and output dropped dramatically due to lack of support and resources, both knowledge and in-person. Hurukuro is aiming to change this through the usage of mobile technology (did you know that Zimbabwe has mobile phone penetration of over 92%?) to provide rural farmers with all the information and support that is needed to properly conduct and farm their land. Everything from knowledge support, logistical support, financial payment platforms, and other essential products to give farmers the tools they need to farm higher yields, be able to ship and sell, and then start over again sustainably.

We talked about his journey into becoming an entrepreneur; how the lack of innovation drove him out of the private sector, and we talked extensively about entrepreneurship in Africa. Not just about the challenges and obstacles that African Entrepreneurs face, but that media and platforms need to focus on the development, triumphs, and look at life from the African perspective to really understand the region.

To find out more about Hurukuro, you can visit the following links:
http://hurukuro.com (Official Site, English)
https://www.facebook.com/HurukuroC (Facebook, English)
https://twitter.com/HurukuroC (Twitter, English)

 

NOTE: There are some audio issues near the beginning of the podcast. We tried to remove them as best as we could, they were due to internet connection issues during the recording of the episode. 

Episode #3 – No Fear of Falling Podcast – Wilson Masaka (Wilsen Initiative)

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In our third episode, we talked with WILSON MASAKA of the WILSEN INITIATIVE (based out of Nairobi, Kenya) who is working to inspire and develop the next generation of young changemakers and leaders through a number of different mediums, including but not limited to Web Design (ICT), Sport, and Art.

We talked about how your life story can directly influence your perspectives and decision making process as an Entrepreneur, the love of creating positive change, the power of sport and the strong (and underused) relationship between sport and entrepreneurship, and how it is healthy to celebrate failure rather than pushing it away.

To find out more about Wilson Masaka and the Wilsen Inititative, you can visit the following links:
wilsenx.blogspot.ca (Wilson’s personal Blog)
www.youtube.com/wilsenx (Wilson’s YouTube Page)
www.wilsen-initiative.org (Wilsen Initiative, Official Website)
wilseninitiative.wordpress.com (Wilsen Initiative, Blog)
www.facebook.com/Wilsenx/ (Wilsen Initiative, Facebook)
twitter.com/wilsenx (Wilsen Initiative, Twitter)

Episode #1 – No Fear of Falling Podcast – Ronald Ssekandi (Writing Our World)

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Our first EVER episode of the No Fear of Falling Podcast featured Ronald Ssekandi, the Founder and Executive Director of Writing Our World and their new project, LEAD Africa.

We talked about his journey to get where he is now, making the decision to pursue something he was passionate about, the power of Debate and Writing in today’s African society, and what the concept of failure means to him.

To find out more about Writing Our World and LEAD Africa, you can check them out at the following links:
www.writingourworld.org (Official Site, WOW)
www.facebook.com/wowuganda (Facebook Page, WOW)
www.leadafricaug.com (Official Site, LEAD Africa