How One YALI Participant Is Changing Lives in Cabo Verde

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YALIAlfredo de Pina is doing all he can to improve conditions for young adults and the poor in his native country of Cabo Verde in West Africa. Cabo Verde is an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in the mid-Atlantic Ocean, nine of which are inhabited.

Pina’s nonprofit group WeDoCare, for which he is founder and serves as the Director of Human Resources, works on several fronts from donating books to more than 200 schoolchildren to delivering donated clothing and food to victims of Fogo Island’s volcano eruption in 2014 who were left homeless. 

Pina is also developing a mentorship program for male juvenile delinquent youth that will include leadership and professional training. WeDoCare’s main interest is to promote activities to cultural, sporting, academic and recreational, as well as raising funds to help the needy.

Pina, 28, was one of four Cape Verdean youth who participated in the Obama Administration’s outreach to Africa through The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) in 2014 where 500 young African leaders were invited to participate as a Nelson Mandela Fellow in the States for a short period. During his participation in the program, Pina was mentored by U.S. civil rights activist Vernon Jordan, who served as President Bill Clinton’s close advisor during Clinton’s years in the White House.

“We started WeDoCare because we felt like it was our duty to give back to the community, to our city, to our country. We felt that we had to help those in need, because young people have an important role in the development of our country. We started it in May of 2011,” explains Pina, who still maintains a full-time job while trying to expand his charitable organization.

“We are all employed and manage time between our work and the charity,” he explains. “It’s a challenge, but we make it work. For example, we don’t meet unless it’s extremely necessary and we do virtual meetings. Another challenge is the resources.”

Getting the necessary resources the nonprofit needs is a major hurdle, but says Pina, “We don’t go out and ask for money. Our purpose is to organize activities that bring people and companies together and make them feel part of the process. For example, we did an all-night Aerobic Marathon and with the right partnerships, people came to exercise and all we asked was that they bring 1 kilo of food. For this, they got free aerobic classes and a health check up. We also do soccer and basketball tournaments, and fundraising dinners.”

Pina says his goal is to ultimately bring the nonprofit to all of the islands. And he is not waiting. “Our philosophy is: Don’t wait for the government; raise funds and help those in need. Let’s get together and help.”