The Commitment Challenge propels Maximus Academy in securing funds vital for the launch of our job training program for children with intellectual disabilities in Sub-Saharan Africa, beginning in Dakar, Senegal. All the funds gathered from this competition will be used to invest in training students to yield produce through hydroponics and to generate electricity from plastic bottles using the Little Light Bulb technique. Consequently, Maximus will develop a viable agribusiness that will not only help curb malnutrition and reduce climate change in Senegal but also decrease the unemployment rate among college graduates with degrees from a plethora of subject areas.
Maximus Academy is a promising business skills accelerator that serves the local Senegalese community (Dakar, Senegal) by instilling valuable vocational skills in teenagers with developmental disabilities. With the motto, “Reworking disabilities”, it has two primary goals that it aims to solve. It works to both engage the developmentally disabled community in garnering relevant technical skills in the fields of hydroponic management and light creation and simultaneously curb the problems associated with light insecurity in Senegal.
According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the health burden of idiopathic intellectual disability in Senegal peaks at ages 5-9 for men at 208.8 years of health life lost per 100000 men in 2013. This rate slightly declines but nonetheless, remains high at 192 years of health lost per 100,000 men ages 15-19 in Senegal. Additionally, women are harmed at the highest rate from idiopathic disability as the annual years of health life lost has increased by 2.2% since 1990.
Onto the second half the problem that must be solved, according to the USAID, 45% of the Senegalese population do not have access to electricity. Intriguingly, 72% of the population in rural areas of Senegal do not have access. The lack of renewable energy resources in Senegal, a country that increasingly demands sufficient energy due to economic growth, often deters opportunities for real growth. The increased reliance of outside sources of energy and fossil fuels limits the opportunity for sustainable growth and development in a country whose economic growth requires more. Accordingly, Maximus proposes to solve both of the aforementioned issues by creating a work training program with partner schools that currently teach children with intellectual disabilities in Dakar. We will teach the children how to create sustainable yield produce through hydroponics and to generate electricity from plastic bottles using the Little Light Bulb technique. Consequently, we predict that this will give local communities in Senegal a more viable way of using and generating light and decrease the reliance of young adults with developmental disabilities on their parents/caretakers. Join Maximus in helping to rework disabilities in Senegal!