“Know your strength and stick to it.”
Malian entrepreneur Mahamadou Camara’s day job is simple but fulfilling. The owner of a translation and consulting company with language teaching facilities, Camara translates business documents into English and helps executives register their businesses with local authorities.
After work, Camara does something else important. He recently started a nongovernmental organization focused on bringing health education to his country’s rural communities, particularly to mining areas, where thousands of workers live clustered in small tents with minimal access to basic supplies. He recruits a few people in each area and trains them to identify cases of malaria and other diseases. Camara’s organization then refers the sick people to larger groups that can provide medical care.
Camara believes that “educated, empowered and engaged” young people are the key to moving Africa forward. “African youth need to trust their potential and believe in themselves,” he said.
“We (young leaders) have to be the change we seek. … This belief has been strengthened by my participation in the Mandela Washington Fellowship.”
Since returning home from his summer fellowship, Camara has been sharing information about his experience through radio broadcasts. With the U.S. embassy in Bamako, he facilitated a meeting with several members of the local news media so he could tell them about YALI.
Camara encourages young Malians to apply for a 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship and helps them draft their personal statements.
“The advice I have been giving others is to write the truth about yourself. Try to know your strength and stick to it because that is what will make the difference.”
Recently, Camara and other YALI members from Mali launched the Yali Mali network. He maintains regular contact with his colleagues at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta where he studied business.
“This YALI program hast had a positive impact on my activities. I want other young people to have that opportunity to help the enhance things in their daily lives,” he said.