Founder of Africa Yoga Project, Honored with Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Global Citizenship in Louisville, Kentucky USA
NAIROBI—Global humanitarian and Founder of Kenyan Community Based Organization, Africa Yoga Project, Paige Elenson, traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, USA to receive the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Global Citizenship for her work with disadvantaged youth in Kenya on September 23, 2017.
Paige shared that she has been fighting for social justice for youth in Africa since she first set foot on the continent on a vacation 10 years ago. Over 50% of the youth in Africa are unemployed or under-employed. “I want to democratize opportunity, I stand for democratizing wellbeing. These young people need to learn, they need to achieve, they need to work. They need to be a part of the economic engine that’s driving Africa.”
By being idle, youth are not only suffering living in poverty, they are at risk to be recruited by extremist groups and even politicians for crime and terrorism. Youth never get a chance to realize their own opportunity for change, growth and transformation. “At Africa Yoga Project we are committed to creating jobs giving African youth the opportunity to find jobs that they love, that they are proud of, ones that will help them transform their community and dare it to say, transform the word,” said Elenson.
Paige Elenson along with her co-founder, Baron Baptiste have built a community of both local African Wellbeing professionals and students and global volunteers who believe that mindfulness and yoga can change the world.
Many youth in Africa have resorted to relying on foreign aid to survive, but Africa Yoga Project creates opportunities for Africans with Africans. “I really want to thank everyone in Africa who rolls out their yoga mat every day and does the work, because there would be no jobs for yoga teachers without students,” said Elenson.
To close, Elenson shared, “Muhammad Ali said, 'Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.’ Tonight has been an inspiration for me to continue and grow my rent check.
Elenson was one of the five awardees acknowledged for their humanitarian efforts across the globe including:
HRH Princess Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite, Executive Director of the Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT), medical doctor, geneticist, and humanitarian, was honored as the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award.
Patricia Arquette, Academy Award-winning actress, activist, founder of GiveLove, and humanitarian, received the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Ashley Judd, Actress, activist and Kentuckian, was presented the Muhammad Ali Kentucky Humanitarian Award.
Hill Harper, Actor, author, and philanthropist, entrepreneur, and founder of the Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, was honored with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Education.
About the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards
The Fifth Annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards, presented by Brown-Forman, will take place on September 23rd, 2017 at the Louisville Marriott Downtown in Louisville, Kentucky USA. This charitable event of celebration and recognition will honor individuals around the world who have made significant contributions toward the attainment of peace, social justice, or other positive actions pertaining to human or social capital. In addition to awards presented to seasoned humanitarians, six young people, 30 years or younger, are honored with an award for each of Muhammad’s Six Core Principles: Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality. This event is the premiere annual fundraiser for the Muhammad Ali Center.
About Africa Yoga Project
More than 70% of Kenyans are under age 30, and they face a national unemployment rate of 40%. Meanwhile, yoga is part of an enormous – and growing –world wellbeing market. In the US, over 36 million people practice yoga and spend more than $16 million on yoga classes, apparel, and products. Globally, the wellness industry represents a $3.7 trillion market.
AYP is training African youth to increase their employability and tap into the economic opportunities of the wellbeing industry as self-sustaining leaders in their communities.
Africa Yoga Project has trained over 300 African youth from 15 different countries in Africa who offer 300+ free classes per week to 6,000+ individuals who otherwise would not have access to wellbeing services.