Tag: Mali

Undocumented Immigrant Mamoudou Gassama, 22, Saves Child Dangling From Balcony in France, Becomes National Hero (VIDEO)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

The video footage is astounding: in a matter of seconds, young hero Mamoudou Gassama, scales four stories of a Paris apartment building to rescue a child dangling from a balcony.

Hero Mamoudou Gassama (photo via nypost.com)

According to washingtonpost.com, Gassama, a 22 year-old undocumented immigrant from Mali, is being feted as a French national hero despite having been in France for less than six months. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced that the city would support his effort to stay in France, and President Emmanuel Macron welcomed him to the Élysée Palace on Monday. According to Newsweek, Macron granted Gassama full French citizenship, and Gassama has also been offered a job as a firefighter in the French capital.

At a moment when life is becoming increasingly difficult for immigrants in France, Gassama — christened “Le Spider-Man” on French social media — has become an overnight celebrity after his Saturday night heroics.

“He explained to me that he arrived from Mali several months ago, dreaming of building his life here,” Hidalgo said via Twitter. “I told him that his heroic gesture is an example for all citizens.”

Gassama recounted the chain of events on Saturday night to France’s Le Parisien newspaper. Around 8 p.m., he was with his girlfriend in Paris’s 18th arrondissement, or district. As he was walking down Marx-Dormoy street, he saw a crowd gathered below a building, with people screaming and pointing up. Then he saw the boy, who authorities later said was 4.

“I climbed up to save him, voilà,” Gassama told Le Parisien. “I did it because it was a kid. I love children very much. I didn’t think about the floors,” he said, referring to the building he scaled. “I didn’t think about the risk.”

For many, the question was how the 4-year-old boy had managed to climb over the balcony’s railing in the first place. The child’s mother was not in Paris at the time, and his father, who had apparently left the boy home alone, was questioned by authorities, a judicial source told Agence France-Presse.

Akon Lighting Africa To Train Future Tech Professionals at New “Solar Academy” in Mali to Help Provide Electricity to 600 Million in Africa

Akon at the second United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Forum (SE4A) on May 21, 2015.  [Photo via akonlightingafrica.com)

As the second United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Forum (SE4A) paid tribute in its closing session to the progress generated by the Akon Lighting Africa initiative launched in February 2014, its founders Akon, Thione Niang and Samba Bathily were already looking to the future and next steps. They have just announced the creation of a “Solar Academy” to develop skills and expertise in this field in Africa. This professional training center of excellence is a first on the continent and targets future African entrepreneurs, engineers and technicians. It will open its doors this summer in Bamako, Mali and welcome any Africans wanting to help develop the use of solar power.This project is being introduced under the patronage of Solektra international, a partner of Akon Lighting Africa, in collaboration some European experts who will supply training equipment and programs.  It aims to reinforce expertise in every aspect of installing and maintaining solar-powered electric systems and micro-grids in particular, which are really taking off in rural Africa.  With its 320 days sunshine a year, the continent is perfectly suited to the development of solar power, particularly since 622 million Africans still do not have access to electricity.

We have the sun and innovative technologies to bring electricity to homes and communities.  We now need to consolidate African expertise and that is our objective” explained Samba Bathily at the SE4All. “We are doing more than just investing in clean energy.  We are investing in human capital.  We can achieve great milestones and accelerate the African transformation process on condition that we start training a new generation of highly qualified African engineers, technicians and entrepreneurs now” he added.

With 70% of the population aged under 35, Africa is the continent with the youngest population today.  One of the biggest challenges it faces is training and creating sustainable employment.  “We expect the Africans who graduate from this center to devise new, innovative, technical solutions. With this Academy, we can capitalize on Akon Lighting Africa and go further,” Thione Niang said.  Indeed, Akon Lighting Africa adopted a sustainable business model from the outset – providing training and creating jobs enabling local populations to embrace technical solutions and become self-sufficient.  The Solar Academy will help to extend this business model and promote inclusive growth throughout Africa.

article via akonlightingafrica.com

Singer Akon Aims to Bring Electricity to 1 Million Homes in Africa Through “Akon Lighting Africa” Initiative

Singer Akon. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Singer Akon has launched an ambitious endeavor that aims to improve the lives of over one million people in Africa.  His new initiative, “Akon Lighting Africa”, hopes to bring electricity to one million households by the end of 2014 to help promote energy sustainability and sufficiency throughout the continent.  “The lack of electricity is currently a major problem in Africa,” reads the website for the campaign. “A significant number of households in rural areas and even urban cities do not have access to electricity. This is a real obstacle to Africa’s Sustainable Development.”

Akon, who is Senegalese-American, has partnered with local charities and corporations to aid in the efforts of the campaign by addressing Africa’s energy issue and installing solar equipment in households.  The “Right Now” singer will travel and meet with leaders in nine countries in nine days to discuss the project including Senegal, Mali, Guinea Conakry, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo and the Ivory Coast.

Learn more about Akon Lighting Africa here.

article by Lilly Workneh via thegrio.com

Young Business Owner Rahama Wright Using Shea Butter to Empower Women Around the World

Rahama Wright, founder, Shea Yeleen International (Image: Wright)

Many people don’t think about where shea butter comes from when they glide their favorite shea product onto their skin or hair, but Rahama Wright thinks about it every day. As founder of Shea Yeleen International, the socially conscious leader has made a business out of her passion for helping female shea butter producers.

Growing up in upstate New York, Wright’s Ghanaian heritage influenced her interest in African-related issues. After working and volunteering in West Africa and drawing on her mother’s stories as an immigrant in the United States, Wright committed herself to making the invisible women behind shea butter production visible to the world.

With patience and relentless diligence, she has grown her company—which initially started as a non-profit—with Shea Yeleen soaps, lip balms, and body butters now available in over 40 Whole Food stores in the United States.  In between meetings for the growing natural body care brand, Wright stopped to chat with BlackEnterprise.com about her career journey and commitment to women’s empowerment.

BlackEnterprise.com: What inspired you to use shea butter to empower women in West Africa?

Rahama Wright: It wasn’t until I did an internship at the American Embassy in Burkina Faso and started learning about income-generating activities for women in the Sahel region that I learned about shea butter. It struck me that this great product that was in so many mainstream haircare and skincare products came from this part of the world, yet there was a lack of visibility for the women producers in the marketplace.

After my internship, I served in the Peace Corps for two years in Mali, which was my first time living in a rural setting. Seeing a lot of the women in my community unable to send their kids to school or buy food or medicine made me want to do more than just say, ‘I served in the Peace Corps.’ So, I started researching income-generating activities for the women in my community, and shea butter came up again. When I returned to the U.S., I started Shea Yeleen to create a space that allowed market visibility for female shea producers.

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