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The Asante Africa Foundation (AAF) held an event at Retzlaff Vineyards in Livermore last weekend to raise awareness and funding for its projects in Africa.

The evening was a success and raised $50,000 thanks to the support of the attendees.

During the event, Byrone Buyu Wayodi, AAF’s Global Director of Measurement and Impact, spoke about the foundation’s endeavors in East Africa to educate and empower the next generation of change agents, whose dreams and actions can transform the future of Africa.

“We always try to talk about our impact with the voice of the beneficiary,” said Wayodi after the event. “Everyone can read what has been achieved, but the individual results cannot be contained in a book or a piece of paper. We use this forum to illustrate what these children go through and what they went through with the kind of lives they have lived. Those of us who speak grew up like the children we help. We didn’t have special privileges, and we understand what they go through so we can help them achieve their dreams.”

AAF was founded in 2007 by Livermore resident Erna Grasz and two African women she met while on a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro. It has since grown and expanded to include programming in three countries — Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya — and impacted over 600,000 lives through its educational, life skills, entrepreneurial and leadership programs. Wayodi said the foundation hopes to reach 1.6 million youth by 2025.

“Asante Africa is expanding and enlarging its territories and building a strong foundation,” Wayodi said. “This is something we are going into with confidence and a lot of related works and reports to make sure the model can be repeated and beneficial to the youths.”

The foundation emphasizes building stronger outcomes for its youth, increasing digital planning opportunities and digital literacy, as well as helping young entrepreneurs access necessary loans to finance their business dreams. They work to create a culture of support not only at school, but at home within the family as well. Many of the teachers are alumni the students can identify with, since they grew up in the communities where they teach.

AAF has an office in Livermore and works with communities in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. Of those working in the programs, 80% are under the age of 35, and 50% are alumni who come back to work with the next generation of youth.

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