On the 3rd of July, 25 Mandela Washington Fellows (Young African Leaders) gathered at Casa Marianella to enjoy a wonderful, warm evening full of fellowship and to share a meal with Casa’s residents and staff. This meeting was a part of the MWF student’s community service component while participating in a six week MWF-YAL Institute/Business & Entrepreneurship Institute at the University of Texas. This program was developed in collaboration with the McCombs School of Business.

Community service is one of six components of the MWF-YAL Institute at UT. MWFs are involved in weekly community service activities. The purpose is to gain a better understanding of the role of volunteerism and giving in the American society. Leaders share information about the community needs their organizations seek to address and how they succeed. Examples may include Southwest Key, Capital Area Food Bank, Casa Marianella, & Community First! Village.  

In the words of Casa Marianella’s director Jennifer Long,

“The main purpose from my point of view is to facilitate a discussion between them and our residents. We will do introductions, break up into small groups for tours, then have a dinner together.”

Additionally, our dear resident Furkan (who is also now an ESL teacher) gave an account of this very special, important evening:

”The moments we had with a beautiful, energetic and talented group were really enjoyable and inspiring. African Young Leaders listened to enlightening stories of residents while they inspired all of us with their presence. We enjoyed a delicious Ethiopian dinner in a convivial atmosphere. We thank Nelson Mandela Fellowship for their kind visit and wish them all a continued success in their lives.’’


More information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders and the Young African Leaders Initiative can be found on UT’s website: