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Photograph of #mwf2016 delegation visit by Christopher Sprowls courtesy of Trade Institute of Pittsburgh

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Fellows are accomplished young leaders chosen from all 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Each Fellow comes to the United States and participates in a six-week academic and leadership institute at a university or college here. They also get to attend a town hall with the President. They then return to their home countries and build upon the skills they developed during their time in the U.S. Mandela Washington Fellows receive ongoing access to mentoring, networking, training, and seed funding to support their ideas, businesses, and organizations.

At the beginning of this month, the Trade Institute of Pittsburgh (TIP) hosted a special day for this year’s cohort of Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. The delegation of 25 women and men represented 19 different African countries. Duquesne University initiated the visit to TIP which also included a tour of PROJECT RE_. The day included a lunch discussion with TIP students and opportunities to share experiences and bond “seeing each other as leaders regardless of origin or background, acknowledging our common bonds, and the hopes & responsibilities we have for our respective communities & countries.”

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Photograph of #mwf2016 delegation visit by Christopher Sprowls courtesy of Trade Institute of Pittsburgh

The Trade Institute of Pittsburgh not only provides students with a ten-week course in the fundamentals of masonry, it also helps their student become employable with the help of daily instruction, life counseling, and the opportunity to experience realistic worksite environments. They have a 75%+ placement rate!

PROJECT RE_ is a partnership between three non-profits. They teach trade skills to help people secure a living wage, while reusing materials to facilitate landfill diversion, and rebuilding communities by strengthening capacity of local residents.

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Photograph of Anette Bongiwe by Christopher Sprowls courtesy of
Trade Institute of Pittsburgh