Fellow Since 2000
Masakhane Resource Centre
This profile was prepared when Ebrahim Rass was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2000.
The New Idea
Ebrahim takes on South Africa's high unemployment rate through a program that enables individuals to become entrepreneurs and participants in the development of their community. The program rests on Ebrahim's insight that people, particularly the young, can take charge of their lives and be socially responsible only if they are economically independent. Ebrahim deploys a multi-pronged strategy that goes far beyond mere skill training. It trains young people as entrepreneurs while at the same time engaging other stakeholders to provide critical support: the business community to invest financially in the process, the health care sector to provide primary care, and local government and others to employ and mentor youth involved in the project. He has registered his organization, the Masakhane Youth Development and Job Creation Project, as a personnel agency and runs it as a business, with all profits reinvested in the program.