MENTORS INSPIRE ZIMBABWEAN MOREHOUSE STUDENTS TO START GLOBAL MENTORING ORGANIZATION
Photo: Taku Masirori and Prince Abudu
By ADD SEYMOUR JR. – Taku Machirori had just failed his high school in Zimbabwe. Two Ds and an E (the grading scale in Zimbabwe includes an E as a failing grade, as well as an F).
“That’s when I realized I really needed someone who can guide me and advise me on what I could do with that situation, the Morehouse senior said. “I didn’t know what to do.”
His mother’s friend in Oakland offered to take him in for two years while he attended a community college and serve as his mentor. He graduated as class valedictorian and then earned a scholarship to attend Morehouse.
“I was like, ‘Wow! I went from two Ds and an E to a scholarship at Morehouse, all because I was able to talk to someone who told me there are still options and opportunities,’” he said.
Machirori turned that thought turned into a full-fledged mentorship program, Emergination Africa. As the organization’s founder, he pulled in other students, including Prince Abudu, a sophomore computer science who is also from Zimbabwe.
Abudu, who is the operations manager, is one of 10 inaugural Ambassador Andrew Young International Scholars, a group of students from Zimbabwe and Burundi who lost one or both parents, but were among the top students in their nations.
Emergination Africa’s goal is to find American mentors, at colleges around the country, who will work with Zimbabwean high school students to guide them through developing career goals and getting into college. Following a successful pilot program last year, 40 new Emergination Fellows join the program in June and will use social media and web-based applications such as Skype to talk frequently with mentors who share the same career and academic interests.
“We have basically come up with a curriculum to mentor the students,” said Abundu.
In March, Abudu and Machirori were invited to Arizona to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), which brings college students together to share their social ventures, such as teaching or mentoring.
Emergination Africa was such a hit that it was one of 11 teams out of 300 chosen by CGI’s Resolution Project Social Venture for funding. The program received $4,000 and will be assigned social entrepreneur mentors, potential partners and help from the Resolution Project.
“This opportunity was definitely an eye-opening experience for us into the world of non-profits and social entrepreneurship, as well as to how to pitch an idea,” Machiori said.
That will help the group to build on what they’ve started in Zimbabwe to include students across the African continent, he said. Abudu and Machirori both see it as reaching back to help others.
“Now that I am empowered, I can empower somebody,” Abudu said. “It just makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something and I’m part of a greater movement that’s much bigger than me.”
“It feels really good,” he said. “Just seeing the students we worked with during the pilot who are now applying to universities, with some of them volunteering now to become coordinators, I just feel like I’m doing something by using the skills and talents that I’ve learned to make a positive impact.”