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Thursday, November 17, 2011

17 years old and saving the world..

When we set out right at the beginning of this project, we had no idea how many entries we will get. Thousands upon thousands. Sure, some were only asking for donations without giving any service back or having started their project yet. Still, it was heartwarming to see how many young people were helping their communities without asking anything in return and uplifting people their only goal.

We set out guidelines to help with the sifting process and still had thousands of entries! On the one side it was kind of sad not to be able to help everyone, but it was also great to see so many helping others with so little. However we can only help so many and we have to comply with the sponsor's guidelines.

So was it then when I met with a young man named Zaahid in the Pretoria area. Now, this young man is only 17 years old and yet he and his brother wanted to give something back to their community! Their vision was also not only to give back something but also to transfer skills and above all,what they gave back must be sustainable, - exactly what our ground-rules in the vetting process was.

Zaahid, together with his brother, started a Internet cafe, next to a shop, owned by his father in the area. From this shop they started to train people to become more computer literate. They employed a lady to help type and teach typing at this Internet cafe; she types the C.V's of people looking for work.

These two boys didn't stop here. They taught an elderly man who was laid off to start his own Gardening Service. Lawnmowers and other gardening equipment were given to him and now this man is able to support his family again.

Another part of their successes was three young men that was tough by Zaahid to run a successful Car-Wash service. Now these three are also able not only to sustain a business in the local community but are also able to support their families.

Zaahid also managed to secure some funds for another part of his project. With this he bought some needlecraft machines and donated them to an elderly lady. This lady had a dream of doing clothing, curtaining and other needlecraft work in order to make a living but also to have a small sustainable business from which she could provide for her family.

With the sponsorship that was secured for Zaahid, he will be able to continue to expand his project and help more and more people in his community. With young people like Zaahid in this world, how can we not grow better?

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