The world that we live in today may be filled with a multitude of  things that can make anyone lose their sense of hope and belief in humanity.  The side effects of senseless violence, terrorism, political conflict, poverty, police brutality and unexpected things like the Grenfell Tower fire that took the life of brilliant rising Gambian photographer Khadija  Saye are enough to make you stop believing in goodness but there is a quote by Fred Rogers (from Mr. Roger's neighborhood) that was trending after the Manchester bombing which stated the following, "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me-look for the helpers, you will always find people that are helping. If you look for the helpers you know that there is hope."  Mr. Rogers also said that as journalists we should add more to the narrative of any tragedy. I do believe that if we all really do this, we will in fact find the goodness and light that we are in search of when things appear dark. It may not completely eradicate elements of sadness but focusing on the helpers alleviates a little stress and pain in a way that brings us closer to healing because our mindset is focused on being positive. So, as we all attempt to make sense of the tragedies happening so close to us and  around the world, I wanted to shift everyone's focus to  an organization that is making such a global impact that it will leave you inspired.

Curated and founded by global Football star and Philanthropist, Sheyi Emmanuel Adebayor, the SEA Foundation is a kaleidoscope of the various philanthropic endeavours that Adebeayor is most passionate about. The foundation’s functionality centers on the continued development of Togo and Africa by  refining business leaders, encouraging entrepreneurship and most importantly equipping the youth with education, support and a brighter future. Along with implementing his love for football by starting his own youth football teams, Adebayor has been involved in government initiatives and development projects in Togo for several years. He also acts as an ambassador for the health and education charity, Vision Togo. For the SEA Foundation, tackling unemployment, raising aspiration and developing skills are the factors that they believe are crucial for Africa’s future growth and stability. The Foundation aims to fund and support youth projects in Togo which have the potential to be used as a blueprint for the rest of Africa. 

Photo: SEA/Dacor Images

In Togo, 75 percent of the population are shockingly under the age of 35. “The youth are not the future of the country. They are its present” states the SEA website.“Encouraging entrepreneurship is key to unlocking the potential of communities in a saleable and sustainable way. It’s part of preparing young people for professional life and enabling them to set up their own businesses which will drive Togo’s economy in the future,” sited the organization. One of the annual events curated through S.E.A is the Togo Forum of Young Entrepreneurs.  This is a three-day event organized with the backing of the Togolese government, and specifically with the Minister of Post and Digital Economy, Cina Lawson, as well as partnerships between NGOs and the embassies of the United States and France. Last year, more than 2,000 young Togolese entrepreneurs applied and more than 300 were interviewed in the country’s five main cities. They attended conferences, seminars and networking events during the week-long Forum.

In an interview on the website, popular Togolese Rapper KanAa who was born in Lomé discussed the critical importance of how the foundation  helps young Africans in the music industry stating that,Urban music in Africa is still suffering from cultural prejudice, especially in the Francophone market. It is still hard for our people to see art as a real business. Hence, it is hard for businessmen to invest in it. Art has no price, but it has a cost. This is why we need foundations like S.E.A, to inject money, to turn the passion into business."

Photo: SEA/Dacor Images

Along with helping entrepreneurs and musicians, to me the most attractive and endearing aspect of the SEA foundation is General SEA’s commitment to helping parent-less children. I don’t think that there is anything more devastating than losing your parents. Life isn’t designed for that type of void.  Being required to bloom without your foundation and the necessary guidance and love that only the people who brought you into the world can provide can be catastrophic and overwhelming. I am not sure if there is anything that can ease this type of heartbreak--- filled with vacancies of unconditional love but thank God for organizations like the  SEA Foundation that make it a little easier for some children to rise despite strenuous odds. A few years ago Adebayor donated  a mansion he built to orphans who had lost their parents during the Ivory Coast massacre, saying "After building my new home in Togo, I decided to hand it over to 100 orphans. This is part of my Ivoire Sport Promotion foundation. This big house was supposed to be for me, but I have a lot of homes, so I’m going to give this one to the orphans. I can’t bring their parents back, but I want to pay their school fees and help them have a better life. For me, helping people is normal."   The foundation also supports various orphanages throughout West Africa. In addition, Adebayor’s consistent message centers on the fact that everything is about your mindset. In an interview on Revealed, Adebayor said something that a lot of us don’t even ponder. “When you lose someone do you think that person will want you to be sad?” he asked. “You have to move forward. I’m a guy that I don’t think sadness is part of my life. I celebrate life and I celebrate death.  The thing we have to know is life goes on.  When someone is gone, what are you going to take in their memory? If that person is gone, they (still) want you to be happy.” This message really resonated with me. If you apply this thought process maybe it will help you too.  Sometimes inspiration happens by accident, you just have to pay attention to the helpers as Mr. Rogers said. There is always another narrative to share.