A loan of $500 helped to purchase a laptop for her studies.

Thato's story

Thato is a 17-year-old full-time student at African Leadership Academy (ALA), a two-year pre-university program in Johannesburg, South Africa, with a mission to identify, develop, and connect Africa’s future leaders.

Thato was selected as one of 95 ALA students out of a pool of over 3,000 applicants from across the continent for her passion for public service, her commitment to Africa, and her demonstrated leadership potential to lead change in Africa and beyond.

Thato is applying for a loan of $500, which will enable her to purchase a laptop to conduct assignments and research, to run her community service project and/or student run business which forms part of the ALA curriculum, and to participate fully in the world-class program offered by ALA.

Thato comes from a family of three and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Thato is a compassionate and caring young woman with a strong desire to help others in her community. At school in Johannesburg, Thato noticed the high number of students at her school from impoverished backgrounds who came to school without any food, and she sought to find a way to support her peers without revealing anyone's socioeconomic status. Thato launched a feeding scheme together with her Life Orientation teacher. This program included planting seeds for vegetables that could be grown on a sustainable basis. Thato ran the project by raising money for equipment, seeds, and other required resources. She also managed to get sponsors and volunteers to help maintain the garden.

Thato’s track record of involvement in community outreach is extensive. Over and above the food garden, she also started a career guidance club at her school for students to get counseling on careers and about attending university. She also volunteers at the local social center that helps people on welfare in Soweto township.

Academically, Thato has always been a top student, taking the award for best learner for the last two consecutive years. She also received top achievers awards and a mathematics award.

Thato’s strong abilities as a leader have been formally recognized in several platforms: she participated in a provincial dialogue at Constitutional Hill, the Girls and Boys Education Movement, and the Self-Awareness Leadership Campaign at her school. She was also selected as one of 100 youth in Johannesburg to represent her school on the Johannesburg Student Council.

Passionate about the environment and its conservation, Thato also started and ran an environmental awareness campaign at her school. She hopes to become a leader in the environmental sector, impacting the continent by protecting and conserving its natural resources.

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