#LeadYoung - Allan van der Meulen grew up in a township outside of Cape Town, South Africa where gangs ruled and young people had few opportunities to do much more than join one

Allan van der Meulen

At 19, Allan van der Meulen stumbled upon Ashoka Fellow Marlon Parker’s RLabs where he was put in charge of helping other young people like himself learn new skills and knowledge.  He soon started facilitating classes, leading new programs and putting his own ideas into practice. “I started developing new ways to communicate the ideas and concepts we were learning young person-to-young person in ways adults couldn’t.”  Allan now is project lead for Zlato, an RLabs program that gives youth who provide value to their communities through volunteering a virtual currency to purchase things they need--from clothing to haircuts-- from local businesses.  Through this role he brings in new businesses and creates new feedback loops involving the young people involved to grow the program. With experience and confidence, Allan has also begun his own initiatives on the side.  He is creating a new platform to help increase young people’s ability to get interviews by local employers by posting short videos talking about their skills and abilities rather than static words on a CV.  Through RLabs, Allan found his changemaking pathway to #LeadYoung and now is helping ensure that this becomes the new norm. 

Access Allan's testimony video here.

This article was originally published on 27 April 2017
Related TopicsChildren & Youth, At risk youth, Non-formal education, Youth development, Youth leadership

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