These Numbers Have Faces Empowers African Young People to Lead
These Numbers Have Faces is a nonprofit organization that believes the problems in Africa essentially boil down to one issue: poor leadership. To combat this central problem, the organization is investing in the youth of Africa to ensure a better future through the development of honest and ethical leadership.

By investing in university students and young entrepreneurs, These Numbers Have Faces has impacted over 4,000 people. Eventually, it could impact the entire African continent. The organization has global, creative, corporate and church partners whose investments make its achievements possible.

Its approach involves five different avenues for positively changing the next generation of African leaders: university education, entrepreneurship investment, women’s empowerment, a refugee initiative and American internships for African students.

The University Leadership Program recognizes the excitement African high school students have for their futures and how that excitement often dies because of financial roadblocks keeping them from attending college. The program combines a social impact loan with leadership training, professional development opportunities, 200 hours of community service and an intentional support group consisting of family and friends.

These Numbers Have Faces’ Accelerate Academy Entrepreneurship Fellowship teaches the most promising East African entrepreneurs how to become thriving business leaders.

The organization is also committed to empowering women, recognizing that women will play an incredibly important role in ending poverty-related problems in Africa. These Numbers Have Faces invests in young women, providing education and tools to help develop their characters, skills and talents in order to change the trajectory of their lives.

The organization’s Hope Starts Here Refugee Initiative cares for refugees from the Dominican Republic, Congo and Burundi, educating and empowering them in order to give them a chance for a better future.

Finally, the organization connects students in Africa with internships in America. The students are recruited into six fields: business, science, engineering, technology, medicine and law. The program seeks to foster connection and engagement by training the most driven, promising students to be future leaders of their countries. The three-month professional internships involve placement at companies such as Amazon’s Lab126, Allion USA, Delap CPA, TMT Development, The Portland Timbers and Aspen Heights.

Luke Hammill of The Oregonian/Oregon Live reported the inspiring story of Jean Paul Mugisha, who eventually traveled to the U.S. for an internship with These Numbers Have Faces. His family fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo and lived on a mere 24 cents per day in a Rwandan refugee camp.

These Numbers Have Faces selected Mugisha, who had gotten a perfect score on the national physics test but was unable to attend college due to his status as a refugee. He qualified for a leadership loan and began pursuing his degree at the National University of Rwanda.

“There is no other way I’d go to school,” said Mugisha, who spent the summer of 2015 interning at Allion USA, a successful engineering service provider located in Beaverton, Oregon.

Jean Paul Mugisha is just one example of a life being changed through the work of this organization. Through its intentional, developed and sustainable programs, it is showing the world that these numbers do in fact have faces and that young leaders are the key to a better future for Africa.

Rebecca Causey

Photo: Flickr