"If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the world."
I consider myself extremely lucky in life. I had a careless childhood. My parents paid for my toys and education. I learned about brutal conflicts and child labor only from books and my grandparents' WWII stories. I learned what hunger feels like only after I discovered intermittent fasting.
Let's put coaching literature aside. Hard work is not enough to be successful, period. There are millions of people in this world more talented and more hardworking than me. Most of them will never have even remotely comfortable life as I do, just because of where they were born.
The location of their birth is not their fault, and I want to change that at least a bit. Not because I'm some kind of a high spirited person, but because I simply feel uncomfortable to be that unfairly lucky in comparison to others. At some stage in life when you feel accomplished enough, you're mainly motivated by giving back.
My life partner, Yaritza had it much tougher than me, born into a big, humble family in the poor suburbs of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She worked her ass off in school, getting an education, learning foreign languages, getting a degree, and starting her career in a male-dominated world. She had to earn everything by herself, but she still acknowledges there are people in the world that pray to God to be put in her childhood situation.
This is why, together with Yaritza, we have decided to launch the MaYa Foundation. To redistribute "the luck" in life.
You won’t see any video ads with kids with big bellies here, although they tend to be most effective. Living many years in Africa, and seeing the results of their work, I have built a certain distrust towards big NGOs. Too big to be effective, detached from the issues, irreformable, and most importantly, living of enforcing the negative stereotypes of regions they operate in. If you live off the process of fixing something, you want the fixing to last forever.
MaYa Foundation follows specific rules
We target those with the “least amount of luck in life” in terms of the circumstances they were born into. In most cases, we support teenage orphan girls from underdeveloped regions dealing with war/terrorist conflicts.
Instead of one-time acts of support towards a wider group, we help a smaller group of those in need. Our support lasts as long as it’s needed, and is focused on making them financially independent as fast as possible.
We don’t want to raise egoists. Besides being financially independent, we will help raise our pupils to become great contributors to society.
We leverage technology as much as we can to guarantee transparency and efficiency of resource distribution.
We stay small and lean to remain as effective and efficient as possible.
We focus on helping talented teen pupils receiving the best grades in school (especially in mathematics) that show interest in science and technology. Through the foundation’s long term support, scholarships, and internship programs, we want them to get good jobs in Finance and IT. We focus on those sectors because that’s where the foundation has most of its corporate partners willing to support us. These are also the sectors we believe have a big future ahead in Africa.
We bring ROI to the charity model. Each foundation’s pupil that becomes financially independent will give back 10% of his/her income to help new pupils.
Maiduguri is the capital of Borno, a state in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria, a region with a very hot and dry climate. Since the mid-1960s, Maiduguri has witnessed outbreaks of massive inter-religious riots. It’s the epicenter of Boko Haram activity, the Islamic terrorist group that in the last two decades has killed more than 20,000 people and displaced more than 2 million. In 2014, the group has kidnapped close to 300 girls (Chibok Schoolgirls Kidnapping) and turned them into slaves, most of them still live in captivity today.
The Community Contribution School (CCS) in Maiduguri is one of the public schools in the Mary-Kuwait community, most popular because of its affordability. CCS is the primary education facility in the area with over 300 students (80% of which are orphans) and eight volunteering teaching staffs. The school has no proper classrooms and has just 25 desks and chairs. Most of the lessons happen outside, in the sun, and students sit on the floor.
The Project is divided into the following stages
Investment in school infrastructure to guarantee a proper education quality at the entry-level.
Choosing pupils for scholarships depending on their performance in school for Primary Education support.
Sponsoring pupils’ Secondary education in the best boarding schools in Nigeria that will become the Foundation’s partners and support us by lowering the fees.
Sponsoring pupils’ Tertiary education in the best Universities in Nigeria or abroad that will become the Foundation’s partners and help us by reducing the fees.
Getting internships for the pupils in the international organizations that will become the Foundation’s partners.
Supporting the pupils in getting a well-paid job - so they become financially independent.
The scholarship program lasts about ten years. The total cost of each scholarship is estimated at around 100,000 US Dollars.Pupils need to continue performing at their best in education to keep getting support.
MaYa aims to choose pupils each year and run annual cohorts.
The 2020 cohort will consist of 10 pupils, and each new cohort size will depend on the Foundation’s financial capabilities.
Progress of each pupil throughout the program will be carefully documented and updated on the Foundation’s website.
British Nigerian Academy
“One can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”Every type of support, even the smallest one receives recognition. The Foundation will send you a certificate of being a supporter.
You can support our cause in the following ways:
You can help us financially by using any of the payment options below
Fundacja Maya, ul. Matejki 6, 84-230 Rumia, Poland
Does your company provide services or products that might be useful for the Foundation? Support us through
barter. Contact us for details firstname.lastname@example.org
There’s nothing more valuable in life than your time. If you feel connected to the cause we are working on,
contact us, and let’s talk about how you can support us as a volunteer.
Marek Zmysłowski is a Polish-born entrepreneur and executive, focused on online businesses in Frontier and Emerging Markets. He co-founded Jumia Travel – Africa’s Biggest Hotel Booking Portal listed on NYSE as part of Jumia Group and HotelOnline.co – a Travel Technology Company. In 2014, he was chosen as one of the Ten Most Important People in Tech by IT News Africa Magazine. He is a Lead Mentor at Google’s Launchpad and World Bank’s XL Africa Program.
Yaritza Reyes is an actress, TV host and model most known for her title as Miss Dominican Republic Universe (2013) and Miss World Dominican Republic (2016). Reyes reached top ten status in Miss Universe and became the first runner up in Miss World, representing her native country in the two most important pageants in the world. Reyes has toured several cities representing the Caribbean islands and has done charitable work as well as served as a pageant judge..
MaYa Program Council
John Abraham Godson
Hon. Dr John Abraham Godson is the CEO Pilgrim Ranch Nigeria. Hon. Godson is also the first black member of the Polish Parliament in Polish history (2010-2015)- where he served as the chair of the Parliamentary Group for Africa and Polish Nigeria Bi-parliamentary group. Originally from Nigeria, he is a graduate of Agriculture (B.Sc. Hons) from Abia State University, Uturu (1992). He also holds 4 Masters degrees in: Human Resource Management (M.Sc), International relations and... diplomacy (MA), Professional Communication (M.S.) and Managerial Communication (MBA). He also did 2 doctorate studies in political science (University of Warsaw) and Management (University of Lodz). He also has undergone several post-graduate courses including studies in Diplomatic protocol and European Studies...
Chief Executive, Africa Women
Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum
Irene Ochem is the founder and chief executive officer of the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF), a pan-African women’s economic empowerment organisation and business network that promotes and supports female innovation, technology and entrepreneurship across Africa. She is an entrepreneur and an award-winning international development specialist with more than two decades of international management... experience in Europe and Africa.
former Polish Ambassador to Zimbabwe,
Polish secretary to Kenya, acting Polish
Ambassador and Charge d. Affaires to Nigeria
Jan Wieliński is a professional diplomat with over 20 years of experience, currently retired. He is a graduate of social studies, and a specialist in sub-Saharan Africa. He also completed postgraduate studies in international business practices at the Warsaw School of Economics. He received training at the International Court of Justice in The Hague in the field of international public law and at the National School of Public Administration in the field of civil services...
public administration. He worked in the Polish embassies in Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, where he was an ambassador..
Visionary Educator, Founder and EduActivist
Agata is a visionary educator, a social entrepreneur, theater expert (Jagiellonian University, Poland) and culture manager (University of London). She is a co-founder of the educational start-up WhBlueSky, which since 2017 conducts innovative training for teachers in Nigeria in the areas of competences such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. She works mainly with low-budget schools, introducing their teachers in the newest... teaching methods.