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'Poverty is no excuse': Auma Obama aims to empower youth in Africa

Dr Auma Obama was on a mission to empower African communities to uplift themselves by developing skills among the youth in the land of their birth.

Dr Auma Obama, founder of Sauti-Kuu Foundation, based in Kenya. Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - Dr Auma Obama said: "poverty is no excuse, and it doesn’t have to be your choice”.

Obama was on a mission to empower poor communities to uplift themselves by developing skills among the youth in the land of their birth.

“The work I do is because I am African. Because I am a woman, and because I am Kenyan. That means a lot for us Africans. It means that for a very long time, we were not the masters of our own destiny. We have not defined who we are as a continent. We have taken on a definition to try to move forward. But I can tell you we’re not doing a very good job of it. Because we have something called development aid. We are considered third world countries, or – developing countries. It means that we are not yet there. We are only half-baked, and I fight every day against these definitions because it’s not true.”

Obama, sister to the former US President Barack Obama, founded the Sauti-Kuu Foundation (meaning “strong voices”) in Kenya which teaches young children how to improve their own communities by teaching them skills they can put to use to earn an income and use resources available around them.

Along with the emotional and psychological support, young people studied towards school-leaving qualifications that would help them find jobs in the market. Younger children were given a chance to complete secondary school. Sport, finance, education and sustainable growth in farming formed part of key programmes at the foundation.

“We are only half-baked in relation to the West, in relation to the Americas, and that is not who we are. For thousands and thousands of years, the African continent has been able to sustain itself. For thousands and thousands of years, African people were able to have an identity that was great. We kept the environment clean. The soil was healthy. The air was clean, and you could drink the water. Then suddenly we took on a persona that says we are less,” Obama said.

Obama's aim was to inspire people around the world to take responsibility. Through her work, Obama motivated children, young people, and adults to exploit their potential on their own. She emphasised the importance of actions - politically as well as socially.

Obama was speaking at a recent Karatbars International Freedom Celebration in Cape Town that saw nearly 5,000 people from more than 100 countries around the world congregate to celebrate business success, as well as projects like Sauti-Kuu Foundation.

Karatbars International has thrown its weight behind Obama’s foundation, as it shook up the cryptocurrency market with a unique offering – gold.

Not gold in the way you’d imagine it but notes of money and credit cards embedded with real gold and valued according to weight – and marketed by Karatbars International, the driving force behind a new type of currency anchored in gold bullion and marketed with a variety of products. These included the distribution of small gold bars, cash gold - an alternative to classic currencies - and two cryptocurrencies, the Karatgold Coin and KaratCoinBank Coin.

The currency was not without its detractors, who questioned how it all worked and who suggested the gold was overpriced, although the thousands of affiliates in attendance offered a different picture. The company claimed to be the market leader in innovative gold products with an annual turnover of 100 million euros and over 600,000 affiliates in more than 120 countries.

According to Forbes magazine, KaratGold was one of the “10 blockchain companies to watch in 2019”, saying “KaratGold allows consumers to trade or purchase gold on more than 500,000 acceptance points worldwide. With all the recent talk about Bitcoin versus gold, this company provides the best of both worlds.”

Headed by founder and CEO Dr Harald Seiz who was pressing forward with a mantra that “success is a choice”, which was the overwhelming message when he addressed affiliates at Karatbars International yearly conference at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

“Cryptocurrencies and blockchain are on everyone’s lips. But cryptocurrencies are not only relevant as an investment object, but the underlying blockchain can also revolutionise all our workflows and business processes – even outside of finance. That’s what we and the other nine companies exposed by Forbes are working on every day,” Seiz said.

“My vision is to see a new payment system in the world that helps the people, and brings a new financial era to the world,” he added.

At a gala dinner to honour affiliates, Seiz encouraged guests to support and donate towards Obama’s Sati-Kuu Foundation, and a total of more than $100,000 was collected on the night.

South African Idols winner Paxton Fielies enthralled guests with her voice, while members were rewarded with Rolex watches and two lucky winners even drove away with Mercedes-Benz cars.

In October, Karatbars would be expected to launch a world- first Voice-Over-Blockchain Smartphone which would offer extremely secure data transmission via blockchain and end-to-end encryption.

Obama’s abiding message was that with the support and partnership of the West, Africa’s destiny was in the hands of its own people and future generations.

“We need to teach our children responsibility, accountability and participation, and not say ‘I am like this because of him’. We need to take care of us”.

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