Youth activist Shantel Marekera of Little Dreamers among finalists for 2022 Äänit Prize

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The Mandela Rhodes Foundation has selected 5 finalists for the 2022 #Äänit Prize! The five who are in the running for an award of up to $80 000 which goes toward their African social impact initiative include Shantel Chido Marekera, founder of Little Dreamers, a thriving pre-school in Budiriro suburb, Harare.

Marekera is a 2019 Rhodes Scholar and a legal consultant to the World Bank.

She founded Little Dreamers with a desire to provide access to quality and affordable foundational education for low-income children between the ages of four and seven. Students receive access to age-appropriate equipment, learning materials and infrastructure that would otherwise only be available in expensive private schools.

The pre-school is living up to its billing and has graduated four classes since 2019.

Through the initiatie, Little Dreamers champions women’s rights as well as spearheads core and programmatic support to advance women’s economic empowerment. This has seen Little Dreamers support the transition of 600+ women to date from low-income families into decent work and self-employment using a community-based approach to skills development.

The women continue to receive support in financial literacy and product marketing.

Little Dreamers hopes to start a junior school and expand its reach to other high-density areas such as Glen Norah, Glenview and Highfield. But law and pre-school are not the only projects Marekera is handling, as the former MasterCard Foundation scholar also a member of UN Women’s Generation Equality Youth Taskforce.

The former Chinhoyi High School student serves on the Action Coalition Working Group, is a Resolution Project fellow and an alumni of the Millennium Fellowship, according to her social profile.

Apart from Marekera, the other four finalists run projects in areas ranging from early childhood development, to medical technology and renewable energy. The finalists come from Kenya, Lesotho, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

These are Jessica Ronaasen (Do More Foundation), Atherton Mutombwera (Hutano Diagnostics Ltd), Koaile Monaheng (Khantša Energy), Shantel (Little Dreamers), and Erich Odwour Midigo (Ndalo Heritage Trust).

Voting is now open for the new Audience Choice Award. The venture with the most votes will win $1000. You can vote here:

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation launched the Äänit Prize in 2021 with the aim of enabling positive social impact in Africa.

“We are tremendously proud to be offering the Äänit Prize in its second year. Each of these ventures has the potential to make a difference in the lives of people who have been left behind on our continent, which is exactly the type of value-driven entrepreneurship that we aim to support and develop at the MRF,” said Mandela Rhodes Foundation CEO, Judy Sikuza.

Mandela Rhodes Foundation ffers young leaders from across the African continent a chance to become part of Nelson Mandela’s legacy of transformative impact. They offer a life-changing opportunity for personal growth via a prestigious postgraduate scholarship and Leadership Development Programme for those who want to use their talents to serve Africa.

Since its inception in 2003, the foundation has selected 585 Mandela Rhodes Scholars from 32 African countries. The Mandela Rhodes Foundation was founded in 2003 by Mr Mandela in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, the home of the Rhodes Scholarship based at the University of Oxford. – APO/MRF


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