After spending two years teaching in Africa it was impossible to just go back home and move on, pick back up as if nothing had changed. A LOT had changed. Not so much in the world, but a lot inside of me. I’d begun to realize, really realize, that our decisions here, and everywhere, had effects on complete strangers all around the globe. It wasn’t fair to not take that into consideration.
Most of us never experience a life like what I saw in rural communities in Africa. We’re never forced to decide between drinking dirty water and risking death, or not drinking water at all and risking death.
Why is that? Why is one person, born in one country, given all of the opportunity, while another person, born in another country, has very little opportunity to the daily luxuries we come to know as normal? This leads to the more important question – what if we could share that opportunity, even if we could only give it to one person at a time? One thing I’m certain of: that opportunity will not be wasted!
I knew I had to do something that really mattered. I realize that we can’t change the past but we can choose our future, and that future begins with education. That’s why I started Africa’s Tomorrow, a non-profit organization dedicated offering financial support to give African students the opportunity to attend U.S. universities. We focus on one student at a time, so the impact is significant. It’s an amazing transformation affecting not only the individual but entire communities.
Too often we see a need, and we feel like doing something, feel like we might be able to, but we hesitate, and then it passes, and soon it’s forgotten. I didn’t want that to happen. So I went for it and it worked. Beyond anyone’s expectations. And so it continues. One at a time.
We’ve sponsored two students already – one studied nursing and the other studied business and nonprofit management and he even went on to get his master’s degree and start his own microfinance organization. Our hope is to sponsor a third student, a woman, since the education of women is of particular importance and sometimes sacrificed or overlooked.
If I could advise anyone interested in starting a non-profit business it would be, don’t let the flame die inside of you. Forget about all of the obstacles, all of your fears, all of the “what ifs”, and just go for it. We have unimaginable capacity within us if only we can locate and harness it. Find your drive, your passion, and let it lead you. Don’t do it for the money or the fame, those will quickly pass and leave you hollow. Do it because it needs to be done, because it will make the world a better place, because there is someone out there waiting for you to do it.
Whether you decide to start a non-profit or any type of business I invite you to join us on this journey. Be a part of something that truly impacts another human in a real and positive way. We’re looking for donors, sponsors, promoters, anyone interested in getting involved and making a difference. Even the smallest gestures can make a world of difference.
We’re giving more than just money, we’re giving HOPE.
Give HOPE. Live HOPE.
About the Author
Izaak Edvalson is the president and founder of Africa’s Tomorrow. Africa’s Tomorrow is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization based in the US, which provides funding to promising students from rural Africa in order to help them attain higher education. More information about Africa’s Tomorrow can be found at www.AfricasTomorrow.org and please to like the Facebook page.