Meet Franck Leya2016-10-17
The inner city of Johannesburg is a tough place to grow up, and even more so when you’re a foreigner, with drugs, violence and discrimination making your life quite a challenge. However, for Franck Leya this was an opportunity to not only help others deal with the discrimination, but also rise above the poor and turbulent living conditions in Jo’burg’s CBD.
Together with his friends Simon Mputu, Daniel Beyekele, and Casey Motshwane, Franck started ‘A Dollar and a Dream’, an organisation that encourages young people from the inner-city to reach higher than they had previously dreamed of, to aspire towards greatness and thereby reaching their full potential.
“When you instill a sense of pride in the youth, it gives them a sense of courage and self-esteem; this in turn allows them to believe in themselves and make the right choices…because they will have an idea of who they truly are,” said Franck in a recent interview.
They do this by sharing the stories of their own journeys with young people, and the lessons they had learned along the way, which they hope will inspire them to do something about their future. They also provide guidance to university students, as well as potential students with their applications to universities.
Over the years, A Dollar and a Dream has seen a lot of positive growth, and from very small beginnings, they now have a team of more than 10 dedicated staff (all full-time students) who ensure A Dollar and a Dream reaches as many young people as possible and continues the work that Franck, Daniel, Simon and Casey had started. In fact, A Dollar and a Dream has had such a positive impact that Franck recently won Lead SA’s Youth Hero 2016 award, thereby giving the efforts of his organisation even more exposure.
While Franck has a lot of experience in rising above tough challenges, he’s not one to just talk the talk; right now he’s focused on completing his university degree so he can show these youngsters that it is possible to rise above your challenges, and through that be a role model to them and others.
Right now A Dollar and a Dream helps young people in Johannesburg, but Franck says in time they would like to see the initiative expand and grow beyond the borders of the City of Gold.
“…we have goals of expanding the movement countrywide and maybe continent-wide when we have enough funds.”
Franck Leya and his friends are making a big difference in the lives of under- privileged children in Johannesburg, and it is but a drop in the ocean of a community that needs support now more than ever, but it’s a valuable one, and if more people follow in Franck Leya’s footsteps, these drops have the power to turn into a wave that has the power to turn the tide for these communities.