A Spring Hill College senior Asserehou Denis Agayi founded Elefangan, a non-profit association aiming to better the education of children in Ivory Coast, his native country, a few weeks ago.
Asserehou Denis Agayi and his sister Angélique decided to create a non-profit organization to “help as many children as possible” in their motherland of Africa and to “bring them hope and ambition,” he stated. After immigrating to France at a young age, Agayi soon realized the privileges he had compared to his family members who stayed in Ivory Coast: “I always wondered: what did I do to deserve this?” he says. For him, the biggest area that needs to be worked on in order to reduce poverty is education. He adds, “We think education is the key. If we can improve this area in each country this will allow the continent to develop.”
He always had this idea in mind to give back to his people and help them, but what motivated him to turn this project into a reality is Dr. Eads, a professor at SHC and president of Light of the Village, a non-profit located in Pritchard, Alabama. “He showed me the way,” declared the student. Over the course of his Business, Society and Sustainability class, Dr. Eads gave Agayi a book: “Pencil of Promise” by Adam Braun. According to the student, this reading was “a slap in the face” which made him realize that if he wanted to create his non-profit, he had to do it as soon as possible while he had enough energy for it. “It’s amazing that I’m able not to just tell the student about business strategies and business skills. Now I can also share this vision that you can be a social entrepreneur and make a difference in this world,” says Dr. Eads.
According to Elefangan.org, 1.6 million children do not go to school in Ivory Coast and ⅔ of those who attend school do not make it to high school. The organization currently works actively with the school of EPP Bat Dokui in Abidjan. The first step of this collaboration is to fix the roof which is literally falling apart. For Elefangan, “allowing children to receive an education in a decent and safe environment turned out to be the priority in this first project.” So far, the non-profit collected about half the 1,000€ (about $1,200) necessary to make those renovations with donations made through their website Elefangan.org.
In Agayi’s view, the next steps are to spread the influence of Elefangan across Ivory Coast and then throughout the whole continent: “we were born in Ivory Coast and if we do not take care of helping our continent, we cannot expect others to do it,” he stated.