When I was 15, I met a girl who had been to Kenya and did some volunteer work for a local school. That was the moment I caught the travel bug and I wanted to go do some traveling and volunteer work too. My granddad thought it was such a great idea, he bought me the plane ticket. And I left.
I worked on two projects in Ghana with a group of other teens. In the afternoons, we would teach local kids, but things weren’t really well organized. All ages, grades and levels were mixed up. But that didn’t take anything away from their enormous enthusiasm though. When we made our daily bicycle trip from the place we were staying to the local school, the kids came running.
The other project I worked on was restoring a library, which needed restoring badly. There were books and board games for the kids, but when you walked in, it was so dark that you couldn’t see a thing. It wasn’t much more than a little concrete room without windows. I was surprised it was even ventilated, which was sorely needed with that kind of heat. And because it was so dark, it wasn’t much of use for the kids at all.
Along with the other teens, we cut out rectangular pieces of wall and put in a few windows and made sure the place was still well ventilated. We painted the ceiling, making it look pretty and as new and the library could be used again. It looked amazing and we all agreed: we really made a visible difference here in Africa. And those really tangible results, were something I missed while doing volunteer work for the school.
A few months after my trip, I shared my experiences with Roban. He told me I should start my own foundation for African youth volunteer work with really tangible results. That was in the spring of 2015. We started working out ideas and by late April, we became an official, certified foundation: Sprouteen.
What Sprouteen does? Exactly what we wanted to!
Sprouteen is a charity organization based on crowdfunding. Anyone can participate and your contribution is also a real contribution towards creating a better Africa, whether you’re a teen yourself or not.
Using our own experience and network, we set up the first projects where everyone is able to contribute – even if you’re working from home. Anyone wanting to be involved in helping kids in Africa is welcome to join us, but we do have some guidelines for the projects we showcase. We’d rather have a small project with a large impact than the other way around, for example.
That’s our goal for Sprouteen: getting the same proud and rewarding feeling I did when I rebuilt that library. You can really make a difference helping out with Sprouteen projects, even if you’re not in Africa yourself!
NB: If you want to support children in Africa right away, there's a button underneath where you can choose a project to fund.