African Youth Foundation

Executive Director

The African Youth Foundation is an organization driven by strong ideals and the pursuit of a better and fairer life. Especially for the cousins ​​from the diaspora.

Personally, this organization has been an integral part of my life. At the age of 9, I was exposed to the activities of the organization, making me more involved by the day. I owe a lot of inspiration to the organization. The main inspiration was to enter the information and telecommunications technology sector. Now, with a degree in Business Informatics and a job as an IT Project Manager at a leading global company in the food industry, I was able to use and develop my skills in order to influence the lives of people around me and the world for the better. I can gain valuable experience here and call myself a successful manager today.

It was a different situation when it was founded in 2000, different from the founders, and different from what was expected back then. Many things are different today. As a young, German-Ghanaian living in Germany, one enjoys numerous privileges these days. These include peace, education, economic prosperity, social security, as well as openness to the world and its values. Many who would look at these supposedly obvious privileges would speak of luck. As a person who obviously looks, thinks, feels and speaks differently than the majority of the people around me, I have experienced how all these privileges that are supposedly due to one are declared unattainable.

Why? – “People like you have never achieved this.”, “You already have everything you need.”, “I don’t think that you are suitable for it.”
These are the answers you keep hearing from, the very same people, who are supposed to help you develop further. It is the teachers, bosses, work colleagues, friends, and even sometimes the family, who happen to underestimate my identity, my striving and my abilities.

And Why? – Not because they’re bad. They are not racist either, because it was they, who taught, guided, supported, made me laugh and made my life possible in the first place.

So what could be the reason why these people say such things?
They all have one thing in common. Most couldn’t understand my identity and my motivation. And that’s probably what happens to a whole generation of people. The special thing about this generation is that it is the first that can no longer be identified solely by a nationality, religious worldviews or other classic characteristics, because it is more connected than ever. Irrespective of whether by means of telecommunications technology, or through social agreements. This generation does not only concentrate on one thing but sees itself as part of a whole and adapts flexibly to the situation and the people they meet. This is overwhelming for many people.

Are you African or European?
That is a question that I have heard many times in one way or another. The answer to this is always the same: Neither nor. I somehow belong to both of them and at the same time I wouldn’t call myself that. I’m a person who keeps being pigeonholed, even though I don’t seem to fit anywhere. So I am convinced that you have to define your own worth. If others cannot recognize the abilities, you just have to do your thing yourself and create your own happiness. Over time, people around you will notice that they were wrong; they could pay attention and sometimes even when the tide turns, they may join you and your vision.
That’s what I want to make possible for everyone around me, but above all for my generation, the cousins — who have to experience similar things and don’t know how to break out. We did not choose our alleged privileges from heaven, but at the same time, we are denied them. I would like to draw your attention to these privileges that we are entitled to, to use for good and create alternative solutions together!

Leonard Jansen
Executive Director