Shoes for Africa
Ghanaian Mabel Suglo had a granny who suffered from leprosy. Mabel wanted to make her a pair of comfy shoes that would last so she tried with some old tyres and the shoes were a hit. This made Mabel decide to start her initiative, the Eco-Shoes Project, making shoes and accessories using old tyres and recycled materials. Mabel noticed other disable people in her community were often not included in opportunities, ignored or even hurt by others, and for that reason, she hires disabled people so as to provide them with equal opportunities.
The first season of the popular Sudanese TV show for young entrepreneurs, Mashrouy, was won by Samah al-Gadi in 2013. She beat 12 contestants with her environmentally friendly idea – to help communities living along the Nile riverbanks by removing water hyacinth, which causes parasitic growth and depletes fish. Community members would then use the hyacinth to create bags, furniture and ropes to sell. Winning this competition earned Samah $20 000 plus it inspired Sudanese female students to focus more on their studies. Today, Samah’s project is being implemented in Khartoum.
Meet Lebogang Maruapula from Botswana. Lebogang always wanted to make a positive impact in her community and uplift girls. She co-founded The Goddess Foundation (a movement that mentors and educates young women), and signed up as regional ambassador for Girl Rising (a global organisation raising awareness on equal opportunities for girls). In 2014, Lebogang was a fellow at the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. She is also a United Nations Online volunteer and activist at UNICEF’s Pacific Youth Media.
In 2005, South African Refilwe Ledwaba became the first black woman to earn a helicopter pilot license in her country, and the first black person to fly operationally for the SA Police Service. This pilot, academic and social entrepreneur also founded the non-profit organisation, Southern African Women in Aviation and Aerospace (SAWIA) which hosts the annual Girl Fly Programme in Africa – a camp for 150 high school girls interested in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), focusing on aviation and space technology. Refilwe won the 2012 South African Youth Development Agency award, and in 2014 was included in the Top 35 Africans under 35 in the Young People in International Affairs ranking.
These women have all thought about their strengths and set goals for themselves, this is something we can all do and take inspiration from!