Becoming a Change-Maker at YYAS 2020 - Abenezer Melaku

When I first heard about YYAS, I was extremely fascinated by the program’s concept, and always aspired to participate in it someday. However, my self-doubt caused me to think that I wouldn’t get in even if I applied. My counselor and peers who believed in me encouraged me to apply, as they were vehement about my academic and personal potentials.

Receiving my acceptance letter from YYAS struck me with a feeling of great self accomplishment, and helped me realize that I need not look down on myself, or cower in fear in light of the negative perceptions that continually cloud my mind, but focus my time on striving to achieve my goals. I was one of the three students from my school who were accepted into the program this year.

YYAS 2020 kicked off with a welcome note from the president of Yale University, Mr. Peter Salovely. Scholars had the opportunity to engage in various seminars on diverse topics, listen to inspiring messages from college students, and learn about the SAT and the college application process. 

The best part of the program was the inspiring live discussion with Mr. Isaac Sesi, entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Sesi Technology. He told us about the humble beginnings of his journey and the challenges of being an entrepreneur. I learned that we are not in competition with anyone other than ourselves. After listening to Mr. Sesi, I grew an understanding of how to identify problems in my own community, and come up with solutions for them. Mr. Sesi’s invention of the GrainMate, a device made to measure moisture in post-harvest crops, had a great impact on me.


Though the program was held online, the impacts of the program on my life are incredible. By the program’s culmination, I gained a much deeper appreciation of my identity as an African, understood the need to develop Africa (and the world), and became a change-maker. 

YYAS imbued my spirit with a heart-warming euphoria and helped me understand things in a new light. YYAS is one of the best programs I’ve ever attended, and I definitely recommend this program to every eligible African.  

Written by Abenezer Melaku, YYAS 2020 Online.