By Adam Brazeau
Cornwall, Ontario – Win or lose, Mira Tshilombo is taking her recent pageant experience and turning it into a way to unify Africa.
Cornwall-native Mira Tshilombo, 24, didn’t win the top spot at the Miss AfriCanada Pageant, but she walked away with a fresh determination to start her own non-profit organization that brings young Africans and Canadians together to help unify Africa.
The 24-year-old former resident of Cornwall, participated in the Miss AfriCanada Pageant and left with even more drive to spearhead a non-profit organization.
Although Tshilombo didn’t bring home the crown, she left with a new sense of determination. Immediately after the pageant, she filed the paperwork to begin a lifelong dream: Young Africans and Canadians Acting Now (YACAN).
“My experience in the pageant was a positive one, I learned a lot about myself as well as the pageant world,” said Tshilombo.
The Cornwall-native impressed the judges and other contestants with her vision for YACAN. A “think-tank” outreach centre for young Africans and Canadians, to help solve problems in Africa. YACAN will focus on the social and health problems in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It’s a subject that hits home for Tshilombo. She was born and raised there until the age of four, when she moved to Canada.
“People found my platform to be of strong vision and innovative,” she said. “I will move forward with my charitable ambition by first waiting for my approval from the Canada Revenue agency, then working along side my brothers and sister to brainstorm of ways to unify Africa by creating projects which allow for sustainable living in Africa.”
Areas of focus will be teaching about HIV/aids, agriculture and farming and learning to read and write in English and French.
“We are already planning to make our first trip to Africa in the summer of 2014 and plan to have a website up with our full mission statement, values, events and how to get involved,” said Tshilombo.
YACAN’s members and volunteers will communicate over Skype or the phone until after their first trip to a voted African country. The first focus will be agriculture and farming, along with education of HIV/aids.
“What I learned from the other competitors is the people of Africa remain beautiful regardless of their daily struggles,” said Tshilombo.