“One of my favorite memories growing up was when my dad would take the whole family out to celebrate me or my siblings getting a good grade,” Elfi Kashori Martial says. “That or spending an entire day biking and playing soccer with my friends.”
Elfi, a 2019 Mandela Washington Fellow and the founder and chief executive of the Empower People Network, is working today to build his community in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, inspiring his peers along the way.
“It all started when I volunteered with Africa New Day where I met my mentor,” Elfi says. “He helped me discover my purpose in life.”
That purpose, for Elfi, is enabling others near and far to lead better lives.
“I’m helping people discover, develop and deploy their potential,” Elfi says. “I can only succeed when I help others succeed.”
In this, Elfi has begun leading online coaching sessions to reassure his peers of their potential, especially in times of global uncertainty.
“I want to help others stay strong and spread positive energy. I’m encouraging my family and everyone I know to follow the instructions given by health care professionals,” Elfi says, referencing the COVID-19 pandemic. “I also started a WhatsApp group to help people in my community learn new skills under lockdown.”
One challenge Elfi faced in launching his initiative was the skepticism he encountered from peers and others.
“Many people did not believe in me; some even thought I was insane to think I could help others succeed,” Elfi says. “But I had faith in me. I kept learning from those who were doing what I wanted to do and from the few people who believed in me. That’s what kept me going.”
Indeed, strong mentors helped Elfi to envision a better future for himself and for those in his community.
“You have to learn from those who have what you want and who have been where you are,” Elfi says.
In his own work, Elfi hopes to be an equally inspiring mentor to his peers. He believes they have the potential to change their communities and achieve better futures.
“I see myself as a bridge between who my peers are and who they can become,” Elfi says. “I want to help them become part of the solution. I want to help them use their potential to serve humanity.”
To Elfi, raising others up doesn’t seem a lofty goal, it seems the only necessary one.
“A perfect world, to me, is a world where everyone is a solution to a problem,” Elfi says. “It’s a world where our differences are our strengths.”
Interested in Elfi’s work? Learn how you can serve your community on our YALIServes page.
The views and opinions expressed here belong to those interviewed and do not necessarily reflect those of the YALI Network or the U.S. government.