Père Germain Coulibaly Kalari of Côte d’Ivoire - At what point should we abandon our ancestral traditions?

 Imagine that when you came into the world, your family and society saw your coming as a curse. Imagine that you, this cursed child, were most likely going to be killed. What will you do to escape this fate, this ‘destiny’, when all the odds seem set against you, a defenceless baby, if no adult stands up to fend for you?

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Susan Kigula of Uganda – May the defendant please rise

Imagine you were living a happy simple life with your companion and your two kids, when you are both attacked in your house, while you sleep and are severely wounded. Imagine you survive and he doesn’t. Imagine that, while you are still grieving and trying to figure out what happen, you are arrested, tried and sentenced for his murder. And not any sentence, the death penalty! What will you do? Will you powerlessly accept your fate, or will you try and fight to clear your name? But how? Who will listen to you in this country that has already sentenced you without listen to your plea?

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Yolande Bukasa Mabika and Popole Misenga of Congo – For those who dare to dream the impossible dreams

Imagine you were born in a region of your country that was to become the theatre of one of Africa’s longest and deadliest conflict in history. Imagine that you must flee and found yourself, a little kid wondering on your own till you were found and taken to an orphanage in the country’s capital. Imagine became passionate about athletics and, in your teens, joined your country’s National team. Would this finally be the beginning of a better life for you?

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Deng Adut of Sudan – Dreaming past traumas and losses

Imagine you were two brothers born in Sudan in the seventies and eighties. Imagine the war erupted, and you are both successively kidnapped and forced to become child soldiers. Will you manage to get away and start a new life? And if you do, will the war let you go or will it – like it often does – catch-up with you and take everything you have?

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Fatou Diome of Senegal - We will all strive together or drown together!

"Today I wanted to share my indignation with regards to the African Union’s silence. Those people who are dying on the beaches - and I measure my words - if they were white, the whole world would be shaking! But since they are blacks and Arabs, it costs us less to just let them die!

If we wanted to save people in the Atlantic, in the Mediterranean, we could afford it. But we prefer to let them die first before we do anything. It is almost as though 'letting them die' is used as a deterrent, to stop the influx of migrants.

Well let me break it to you: it does not dissuade anyone! When someone leaves their country with failure in mind, that one might find the danger absurd and thus avoid it. But for those who leave their country for survival, those who consider that the life they have is worthless, their strength is unmeasurable, because they are not afraid of death! "

 These words were spoken on a French television network in April 2015 by a panellist in a debate with a very provocative theme: 'Should we welcome or not all the misery of the world?'.

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Nima Elbagir & Claudy Siar – Unshackle my dreams and let me go!

"Big strong boys for farm work. Four hundred, seven hundred, eight hundred, nine hundred, one thousand, one thousand one hundred. Sold for one thousand two hundred dinars”. 400 dollars a person.

Imagine you were a reporter at a major international cable news company and received a video depicting what appears to be a human auction in Libya. What would you do with that footage? What steps would you take for the whole world to know what’s going on in that Northern African country?

When she received this footage at her office in CNN, she couldn’t believe her eyes. Could it be possible?

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Mediterranean Rescuers – From Open Arms to Closed Doors: how Humanity is slowly dying in the Mediterranean Sea, 1000 migrants at a time.

In 2011, in the wake of the Arab spring and the sudden influx of migrants who started crossing in big numbers to Europe, a small Island near Sicily, known before for its beautiful tourist beaches, became known to the whole world and has since been one of the symbols of what is called ‘the migrant crisis’.

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Chamseddine Marzoug of Tunisia – A rest place for the unknown

Would you have imagined that one day, the words ‘migrant’ and ‘crisis’ would practically become one single word, that you would never hear news about migration without it being described as a tragedy, as an unwanted ill, as something we must unite to fight? Would you have ever imagined that there isn’t a day going by without news report about ‘migrants’ boats’ rescued at sea or – as it has been the case most recently of migrant boats that countries fight not to allow on their shores? Could you imagine that more that almost 35,000 migrants have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean since 2000? That one migrant dies for every 50 to 70 who reach Europe?

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Evariste Akoumian of Côte d’Ivoire – No child should study in the dark

Imagine electricity was so scarce in your country, Côte d’Ivoire, children could only do their homework with the light from candles, oil lamps or seating under street lamps. Imagine that, knowing a good education is an important factor to get out of poverty, this situation upsets you so much you decide to take this issue heads on. What solution will you bring to this problem that affects roughly 70% of your country’s and of the continent’s population?

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Maggy Barankitse of Burundi – Never give in, never give up!

Imagine that you grew up in a country that was the scene of periodic ethnic conflicts since its independence in the 1960s. Imagine that your parents taught you to welcome everyone in your life, no matter their background. Imagine that your country plunges in one of its most horrendous mass killings, with hundreds of people murdered and their children left without anyone to take care of them. Imagine you started taking those kids in your house and placing them with friends and churches, waiting for the war to end and for kids to be returned to surviving relatives. Imagine the war did not end or seemed to end but would pick up times and times again, each time with more fierceness and violence and deadliness. Wouldn’t you be tempted to walk away from it all?

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Rosie Mashale of South Africa - A sentinel of hope for a community in need

Imagine you were a school teacher and moved to Khayelitsha, South-Africa’s largest township, in the late 1980s. Imagine you are so overwhelmed by the sight of kids living on the streets, eating in dumps that you decide to take them in to feed them. Imagine the number of kids coming to eat at your house grows so much you call on neighbours to help. What will your impact be in a community with an estimated 14,000 street kids? Where will you find the strength and the means to take care of all the people in need, in this community affected and weakened by the HIV/AIDS epidemic?

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Bertin Nahum of Benin – When Science-Fiction meets Surgery

When Science Fiction Meets Surgery

Imagine you were born in Senegal and your family moved to France when you were one year old. Imagine tragdy strikes your family and you are sent to live on your own in a youth shelter. Imagine are at ease with mathematics and you go on to become an engineer and later specialise in robotics. Imagine you dream of becoming an inventor, that you want to create robots to assists surgeons. How would you go about it? What if surgeons aren’t ready have robots next to them in the operating room?

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Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu of Ethiopia – In the Footsteps of a Thousand Rebels

Imagine you were born in a poor neighbourhood in eastern Africa. A neighbourhood so poor people couldn’t afford shoes and had to make them themselves out of anything they could find: rubber, car tires. Imagine you vowed to change this situation. Imagine you created a company in that very poor environment, making a redesigned version of the recycled tire sole shoe worn by Ethiopians with modest means. Would that crazy idea of selling shoes made of tire attract clients? Would that be ‘the idea’ to alleviate poverty in your community or will you have to think of something else?

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James Kofi Annan of Ghana – No rest till all the children are free

Imagine you were born on the Atlantic coast of Ghana. Imagine your parents were so poor, they sent you, the last born of your mother’s 12 kids, to live with relatives. Imagine you were forced into slavery, working long hours as a fisherman, with no wage, no medical care, no schooling, and abuse like no kid should ever suffer. How long would you survive this harsh treatment? Would you ever be able to get out of that life? And if you did, how would you deal with the trauma? What life and what future would you have, you a kid robbed of his childhood and who can’t even read or write?

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Anta Mbow of SENEGAL – An Empire for Betrayed Children

Imagine you grew up in Senegal and moved to France at 21 years. Imagine you pursued a career as a social worker, reuniting youth at risk with their families. Imagine that you weren’t completely fulfilled nby your chosen career as you realised you the needs in your native Senegal, where the problem of street children was growing by the day, were much bigger than those in your community in France. Imagine you decide to go back home to try and help address the situation. Imagine you thought you could stay home a couple years and go back to France but you realised the problem was much bigger that what you had anticipated. What would you do? Would you go back to France to resume your old life, or would you stay in Senegal? And if you were to stay, what could you do to change the lives of these children?

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Jørn Lyseggen of Norway – A billion people, a billion talents

Imagine you were an IT wizard and became millionaire at 35. Imagine you decided to invest in the future of Africa, without expecting any personal gain. Africa, a continent where you’ve never set foot. Why? Because you are convinced that the continent is a boundless pool of talents. Would you manage to convince your company to make that move? And once you’ve seen the ‘real’ Africa as opposed the one you had in mind, would you still go ahead with your project?

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Rosemary Nalden of the UK – Concerto for Soweto in A minor

Imagine you were born in the UK towards the end of the second world war. Imagine your family wet to start a new life in New Zealand but you later return to the UK to pursue a musical career. Imagine you build a successful career as a violinist till you one day head a radio show about a musical project in Soweto in dire need of help. Imagine you organise fundraisers on their behalf, start sending money and visiting them in South-Africa but you realise they need more than a few visits a year. How far will you go to help them? How much will you invest yourself in the future of these gifted youth living in a township and a country still struggling to redefine themselves and heal from the divisiveness of the apartheid era?

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Dr. Denis Mukwege of Congo – The Man who repairs Women

Imagine you were born in what was then called the Belgian Congo. Imagine that since you were a child, you wanted to become a doctor, so you could take care of your community. Imagine you get a chance to earn your medical degree and come back to practice in your local hospital, in South Kivu. Imagine the Congo war erupts in 1996, sexual assault because one of the most common weapon used by all the armed groups. What would you do? How would you deal with a level of atrocities you have never imagine could be done to women, cases your education and life never prepared you to?  

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Inkosi Theresa Kachindamoto of Malawi – Do Not Mess With Fire!

Imagine you were born in Malawi, the daughter of a chief and youngest of 13 siblings. Imagine that you moved away for college in a neighboring city and ended-up staying there and working there. Imagine that almost 30 years later, upon the death of your brother the Chief, the Elders chose you – his sister and youngest sibling of the surviving 11 kids – to take over the rule! Would you accept the challenge, being a woman in a position normally occupied by men? And if you do against, what would you do to impact your countrymen’s life, a rural people deeply attached to the cultures and traditions of the past?

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