How this ALU applicant is helping Mozambican children, one smile at a time

What inspired you to start your initiative?

I was inspired by the #leadthechange movement to start the Mozattitude Initiative. I felt like a part of the movement and so thought about launching the initiative in my community. António Sambo, the Mozambican YAR also gave me advice on how to go about implementing the project.

I’ve always appreciated being around kids and the ones I worked with do not have families unfortunately. They are also special needs kids and haven’t had the chance to exercise their right to formal education, which is one of the pillars of a society. My friends and I planned to not only bring donations but to put smiles on the children’s faces above all. This represented hope. Samora Machel, Mozambique’s first president said ‘The child is a flower that never fades.”

How did you pick the orphanage you visited?

The Obra Dom Orione orphanage is located in the neighborhood where I grew up. I remember that in 2012, I invited four of my friends from high school to visit the orphanage. None of them had ever had direct contact with special needs kids. We brought a camera along and it was amazing to see their reactions to the camera. Being around people truly motivates the kids. That is why I invited my partner Edson Zandamela and my best friend Cláudia Milambo to join me in launching this initiative.

What was the most challenging and fulfilling part of the Africa Rising Course?

For me, the most challenging part of the African Rising course was the language barrier. I am from a Portuguese speaking country and I did the first round of the application in Portuguese. I initially thought that I wouldn’t be able to take the course because it was in English but I faced the challenge. At first writing the reflections was tough but then I became used to it. This experience truly made me improve my English skills. I remember repeating the videos in the lessons several times in order to get how to best pronounce words. It was funny.

Why are you applying to ALU?

I am applying to ALU because I truly felt attracted to its purpose of education. ALU has called us to be the generation 4, that is, the generation that will take African continent to the next level. This was the first time I have heard of a pan-African institution that aims to transforms young Africans and motivate them to become leaders of tomorrow as well as build and enrich them with skills to serve the continent. Applying to ALU has so far exposed me to such amazing experiences, especially the interactions with other youths across the continent. I belong to Africa and I want to contribute to Africa’s growth.

What do you think is missing in tertiary level education in Africa?

I believe that what tertiary education in Africa is missing is building skills in students. Apart from just focusing on teaching disciplines, it is necessary for education to teach skills, those necessary to enter the employment market. I also think that what is missing from our institutions is “learning my practice.” There is no better way to educate an individual than by letting him ot her practice. African tertiary institutions should have a more motivating environment.

How do you think ALU will solve it?

I believe that in ALU, students will have a formidable and demanding learning environment. The unique curriculum is one proof. I believe that in ALU “learning by practice” will surely be the focus. This will primarily provide experiences in field works through the internship or direct contact with employers. It shows that ALU will effectively build individuals with skills. Teaching entrepreneurship and leadership for me represents important foundations for Africa’s next generation.

What inspires you about Africa and your country?

What inspires me about Africa and my country, Mozambique, is the existence of great minds that call youth to become change agents. The potential is there but is necessary to get the right persons to envision and direct it. For me, the legacy of unity and love for our people left by Samora Machel, Nelson Mandela and Kwame Nkrumah expresses Ubuntu. Ubuntu means “I am because you are.” I believe that if we follow it most of our issues with leadership, health, education and equal economic growth will soon be addressed because we will be engaged in one cause.

The ALU #LeadTheChange series highlights ALU applicants that have been inspired by ALU to start initiatives to improve their communities. New stories every Monday

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