In the recent years, Black youths have been given the opportunity to travel to Africa for free. One of the participating, agencies are Birthright AFRICA, a nonprofit organization based in New York City that offers free trips to Africa for youth and young adults of African descent looking to explore their cultural roots.
Birthright has given young people knowledge and understanding about Africa that the American school system doesn’t provide.
Birthright was formed in 2015, by co-founders Walla Elsheikh and Diallo Shabazz. Birthright Africa’s heritage-based leadership program inspires the Black youth to draw pride, confidence and creativity from their cultural roots and legacy of innovation in the United States and Africa. Their vision is for every young person in America of African descent to know the birthright opportunity that awaits as they come of age.
One of Birthright scholars, Shaina Louis who took a Birthright trip to Ghana in 2018 while attending the City University of New York and shared her experience with CNN.
“Prior to Birthright Africa, I had a lot of pent up resentment and antagonism due to history that I felt my people had no say in. For those of us in diaspora, our history, according to the textbooks, starts with slavery. I was doubtful and kind of cynical about what the future holds not only for me as an individual but also for Black people.”
After experiencing the continent, she says, “We may not speak the same language, but the foods we eat, the way we carry ourselves, the way we relate to one another, and our deeply ingrained spirituality reflect bond that is still there. There is a sense of inner peace and ease I now have, that wasn’t there before. I can move forward with my life, with intention behind everything I do”.
To be eligible for a Birthright trip to Africa, one must be a United States citizen and you must be between the ages of 13 to 30 years old and you must be of African descent.
The trips are free. Flights, hotels, food and the cost of museums are covered by Birthright Africa and its partners such as HBO, Silicon Harlem, Tastemakers Africa, Growhouse NYC, Urban Sankofa Project, Inspiring Minds and Fredrick Douglass High School.
This organization hopes to boost travel to the continent amongst young Black people so, go register at www.BirthrightAfrica.org