A newly-founded group representing African youths has held its first formal meeting in Berlin. Our correspondent Nelly Sarpong, who is also a founding member of the association, writes on its objectives and plans going forward.
African Youth Abroad Empowerment, AYAE, was founded as a non-governmental, non-profit and non-political organization to participate actively in educating and empowering youths living in the diaspora.
AYAE held its first official meeting on Tuesday, 17th September 2019 in Berlin.
The founder, James Obed Kitson, talked about the aims and aspirations of the organization. He stated that its major goal is to educate, empower and enrich the youth on matters that relate to them and give them information that they need. Examples of such being on immigration, education, health, business and laws, among others.
AYAE is a solution to problems the youth in the diaspora are facing, he explained. The group was initiated because most African youths abroad do not have the prerequisite knowledge of immigration laws. For example in Germany, the youth who arrive to study or to work usually have close to no knowledge about their rights or responsibilities. Hearsay information which has been handed down from generation to generation is what they have.
“Unfortunately, this kind of information lacks basis, hence we find our youth either getting into trouble with the authorities or missing out on opportunities,” Kitson said at the meeting. “AYAE plans to hold seminars and workshops where immigration lawyers, immigration officials and organisations can advise and educate us on our rights and responsibilities.”
“To improve as a society or as a people, education is one of the most important tools we must improve and focus on,” he added. Seeing that education is fundamental in empowering the youth, African youths living abroad need to be encouraged to go to school and excel. There has been a stigma against the educational system abroad. It has been said that people of African descent are limited and not allowed to flourish in the educational field, whether this is hearsay information or fact is something AYAE is dedicated to bringing to light.
Encouraging the youth to gain educational excellence is top on AYAE’s agenda. And it plans to do this by exposing the youth to the benefits and advantages of education. “The youth will be empowered by their African counterparts in the diaspora who have excelled as a result of education.”
AYAE is not blind to the fact that some African youths carry with them victim mentality. Sometimes this mentality has been ingrained in them from childhood. This prevents the youths from integrating into society. They separate themselves from the culture of their destination countries. Victim mentality therefore prevents the youth from flourishing in the diaspora. AYAE aims to help the African youths abroad to integrate by holding programs with organisations in the diaspora that focus on integration. Also, African youth will be encouraged to take language courses.
AYAE is dedicated to the health education of the youth. It is sad how many people do not take advantage of the amazing health care system that is available. Most countries in the diaspora have good systems in place that cater for people’s health, however, as in the case of immigration laws, if you do not know about it you will miss out on it.
AYAE has realised that some of the African youths think they can only do menial jobs hence, we rarely see Africans exploring the business sector.
The African youths are not driven to take over the business sector because they have either been told they cannot or as a result of lack of representation, they think it is not possible. Our job as an organization is to empower our young ones, and make them believe in themselves and let them see that, there are other Africans who are thriving so it is possible.
We also plan on having several projects in Africa to empower the youths living in the continent. The youths will be encouraged to set up companies in the motherland, invest, make an impact, and use what they have learnt outside in the diaspora to change the trajectory of the African continent.
After laying bare the aims and aspirations of the organisation, participants were allowed to give their suggestions on issues they had experienced where they felt AYAE as an organisation could focus on. The meeting was very interactive and interesting. Participants widened the goals and aims of the organisation. The program which was graced by the Chairman and Secretary of the Council of Ghanaian Chiefs in Berlin, Nana Oheneba Osei Tutu and Nana Togbe Adraki, respectively, who expressed their joy at the formation of AYAE.
They stated that AYAE’s aims and initiatives were in line with that of the Chiefs, thus, empowering Africans living in the diaspora. They gave their full support to AYAE and stated that every African abroad must contribute their quota to making the African Community in the diaspora succeed.
The program ended with people picking up membership forms and deciding to join AYAE.
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