I’ve long been involved with a nonprofit called The Pollination Project that every day gifts a $1,000 seed grant to a group or individual who is making the world a better place.
That’s how I got connected with Franca Ma-ih Sulem Yong, the Founder of Afrogiveness Project and Executive President of Positive Youths Africa. Franca lives in Yaounde, Cameroon. This is Franca’s story.
Liz: Let’s start in traditional Smile Project fashion. Give me a “Happiness is.”
Franca: Happiness is living in harmony with yourself and others.
Liz: What is your project?
Franca: Afrogiveness is coined from two words Africa and forgiveness and seeks to help traumatized refugees and victims of war heal through forgiveness/mindfulness and release through arts. We know that arts is best expressed during extreme moments of pain or joy and we do not want our young refugees and IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) to waste their pain in bitterness but use it to express their artistic abilities.
This is complimented by the Purpose Scholarship which offers educational opportunities and the Harmony show, an artistic gathering conveyed for refugees and IDPs to express their arts.By psychologically and educationally empowering young victims of war, we are not only countering one of the greatest repercussions of war trauma, violent extremism, but we are also striving for sustainable peace.
Liz: What is the driving force behind what you do?
Franca: When the Ambazonia war broke out in Cameroon, some of my relatives were killed and some became combatants out of war trauma. Worse still, mental health remains stigmatized.
Liz: What does service mean to you?
Franca: Thinking, saying, or doing in such a way as to help someone.
Liz: How can people get involved?
Liz: Anything else you'd like to add?
Franca: I am also an advocate of Digital Citizenship which can be defined as responsible use of social media and information technology.
Liz: Do you have a favorite piece of advice or quote to leave us with?
“Keep the hearth of your thoughts pure and have a firm volition for what is good. By so doing, you will bring peace and be happy.”