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 #15 – No Fear of Falling Podcast – Dominik Dresel (Lehrermarktplatz.de)

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In this episode, we head to Germany to talk to DOMINIK DRESEL, a 2016 member of the Young Founders Conference with the Westerwelle Foundation; and the co-founder of LEHRERMARKTPLATZ.DE, an online marketplace specifically for teachers and educators, where they can submit and purchase lesson plans and educational materials. This in turn is creating a community of teachers throughout Germany who can be connected, work together, and in turn develop their abilities and skills to continue reaching out and giving opportunities to students all over the country.

The desire to teach and help people within the educational system is something that Dominik always wanted to do, but instead of going directly into the system as a teacher, he went around from the outside, discovering that he could use his knowledge gained from studying business to create a venture that could reach out to teachers in ways that projects and companies he was with in the past could not. This desire was one of the foundations that created Lehrermarktplatz.de, and indirectly it also created something that can become a strong connecting force for teachers and those working within the educational system, which can be at times an isolating experience; which in turn reminds teachers that they are not alone and that there is always someone there that can help and who can give them new ideas, inspiration, and perspective.

We talked about his journey in the creation of Lehrermarktplatz, about his thoughts about the German educational system, his goals and dreams for what he is doing, and about how even though the odds and statistics may say one thing, and that even though failure sometimes is an ever-present possibility in what you are doing, that no matter what happens, the lessons and knowledge you gain from the entire experience will strengthen you, help you grow, and make you that much better in the long run.

To find out more about Dominik and Lehrermarktplatz.de, you can visit the following links:
https://lehrermarktplatz.de (Official Website, German)
https://www.facebook.com/lehrermarktplatz (Facebook)
dominik@lehrermarktplatz.de (Email Address for Dominik)

 

Episode #9 – No Fear of Falling Podcast – Audrey Tangonan (Sinaya Cup)

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In this episode, we head back to the Philippines to talk to AUDREY TANGONAN, the founder of SINAYA CUP, a Filipino brand of environmentally sustainable menstrual cups that is working to promote an active lifestyle for women, while working to encourage communication about the taboo topic of female reproductive health.

Her inspiration came to her while working on the Sustainable Cup Project in NYC during her time with The DO School, and it has blossomed from there; with her usage of the Lean Startup Method in its growth and development gaining praise and exposure from both businesses and from media in the Philippines, culminating in pieces being written about her in Cosmopolitan Philippines, Entrepreneur Philippines, and other publications.

We talked about her journey to get to where she is now, about how you need to accept and epitomize your issue when dealing with taboo topics, the use of the word “vagina” in business pitches, and the power of Facebook in the development of her brand, which created greater opportunities and reach than a full-blown e-commerce website (which she has now, but she still prefers the person-to-person reach that FB gives her).

To find out more about Sinaya Cup, you can visit the following site:

https://www.facebook.com/sinayacup/ (Facebook, English)

http://www.sinayacup.com (Official Website, English)

https://www.instagram.com/sinayacup/ (Instagram, English)

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 #6 – No Fear of Falling Podcast – Mayuri Bhattacharjee (Loo Watch)

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In this episode, we head to India to talk to MAYURI BHATTACHARJEE, the founder of LOO WATCH, which is essentially India’s first independent toilet auditors.

Yes, I did say toilet auditors. She has put it upon herself to work to try and improve the sanitation and hygienical standards of her country by work tirelessly to improve the standards and cleanliness of toilets; teaching children through workshops to become accountable for their own “hardware” and reinforcing strong hygienical procedures, and working to help modify and change rules and regulations at the policy level.

She couples this with a sustainable clothing venture based out of the Assam Province (her home area) of India, and altogether, she is an activist, a very determined individual, not to mention the most passionate person I have ever met in regards to toilets.

We talked about her journey to get where she is now, how introverted nature doesn’t have to stand in the way of you showing your passion for what you believe in, the actual politically-correct use of the word “shit”, and how she believes that through absorbing and immersing yourself in your subject area, that you can make failure a less-likely result.

To learn more about Loo Watch, you can check out the following links:

http://www.loowatch.com (Official Website, English)

https://www.facebook.com/loowatch/ (Facebook Page, English)

https://twitter.com/loowatch (Twitter Page, English)

Episode #5 – No Fear of Falling Podcast – Liza Mamaliga (Dulce Plai)

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In this episode, we head to Moldova to talk to LIZA MAMALIGA, the founder of DULCE PLAI, an environmentally sustainable honey company, that is both creating tasty honey products while working to improve the environment for future generations.

We talked about the proper way to pronounce “Chișinău”, how she became interested in bees and beekeeping, a few stories and experiences from her development and growth of Dulce Plai, and how there is always something that can be learned from your failures.

To learn more about Dulce Plai, you can visit the following links:

http://dulceplai.com/home/ (Official Website, English/Romanian)

https://www.facebook.com/dulceplai/ (Facebook Page, English/Romanian)

Episode #4 – No Fear of Falling Podcast – Maria Nasiedkina ( Дивовижні)

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In this episode, we head to Ukraine to talk with MARIA NASIEDKINA, the founder of the NGO, Дивовижні, which is using a number of creative and innovative mediums and methods to promote and develop social and personal responsibility, while working to foster and create a more open and proactive Ukraine.

We talked about many things, including her path to creating an NGO, how the experiences her country has faced in the past few years has shaped who she is as a person and her determination to make a difference for it, and also how she loves failure and what it entails.

To find out more about Дивовижні, you can visit the following links:

http://dyvovyzhni.org (Official Website, Ukrainian, use Google Translate)

https://www.facebook.com/dyvovyzhni/ (Facebook Page, Ukrainian/English)

https://vk.com/dyvovyzhni (Vkontakte Page, Ukrainian/Russian)