2 South Africans Making an Impact at Home

Florence Ngobeni-Allen promotes HIV/AIDS education; Amon Maseko encourages job-skills training.

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South Africa also has sky-high unemployment rates -- nearly 25 percent -- and skills are in short supply. Maseko gathered 180,000 rand -- then worth about $25,000 -- and started the center in his home province of Mpumalanga. Since its inception, the center has trained about 200 young people, 80 of whom have since landed jobs.

He said that he felt it was his duty to continue his family's track record of giving back. "My grandparents [and] my dad were involved in the struggle in apartheid times," he told The Root. "They chose to fight for the struggle when they could have just stayed home. As much as the struggle is over, we have another struggle."

Maseko hopes to expand the project but said he expects the process to be slow. "[If you're] a black guy, the bank won't give you anything," he said, referring to the challenges that he has faced getting loans. "You have to work with what you have."

He said that locals should do more to help their communities in an organized way, because community members often know what their neighbors need better than international donors do. "If you're a doctor trying to diagnose something, you hear from the patient first," Maseko said. "They say, 'Here's the problem.' Then you create solutions." 

Anita Powell is a Johannesburg-based journalist who has covered Africa for five years and previously covered Iraq and Afghanistan. Follow her on Twitter.

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