Africa Open Up
Project Lead: Tendayi Mbudzi, John Njende, Ruth Tsanga
Home Country: Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Zimbabwe
YYAS Program: 2019 Zimbabwe
‘Helping one person might not change the whole world, but it could change the world for one person.’
My name is Ruth Tsanga from Zimbabwe and I attended the Yale Young African Scholars Program 2019 in my home country Zimbabwe. I am part of a social impact project known as ‘Africa Open Up’ which was started by two remarkable young people -Tendayi Mbudzi and John Njende Jr- that I met at the YYAS program. ‘Africa Open Up’ is an initiative that ‘raises awareness about mental health and gives teenagers from all over Africa a safe space to talk about any challenges that they might be facing’ that they have difficulties with explaining or telling people. ‘Africa Open Up’ believes that ‘YOUR opinion counts and so do YOUR feelings.’
I am an article writer for ‘Africa Open Up’ and I write articles that teenagers out there can read so that it can help boost their self-worth and appreciate themselves for who they truly are. I would love teenagers to understand one day that whatever they are going through is not meant to break them but for them to emerge victorious and better people than they were before. I used to be so convinced that the definition of helping people and bringing about change in one’s life and in my community involved giving people monetary aid. However, when I attended the YYAS program and became interacting with people from around the continent, I began to realise that helping and contributing to your community is not limited to just money – there is so much more one can do and this project has helped me realise that.
‘Africa Open Up’ has helped me realise that everybody has got their own gift in them that they can use to help the people around them and beyond. I have noticed that from the live discussions, podcasts to even the things that might be considered as ‘simple’ and ‘little’ such as the daily motivational quotes from the ‘Africa Open Up’ team ‘occup(ies) the biggest part of (one’s) heart’ out there. For me, I might not have the financial means to help people but I believe that through my freedom of expression in the form of written word, it is touching someone and changing their ‘world’ even if it is one person.
I challenge you all today to discover and pursue what is in you that you can use to bring about change and impact someone’s life in a positive way. It could be something as simple as visiting little children in hospital and being the ray of sunshine by putting a smile on their faces to maybe a ‘book and pen’ campaign that can equip children in the rural areas who might not have access to stationary. The choice is YOURS.
#CALL TO ACTION
YYAS ALUMNA, ZIMBABWE 2019