Lesego Serolong

Co-founder, Raise the Children International

Lesego (30) is the co-founder and chairwoman of Raise the Children International, a registered non-profit here in South Africa, USA and UK. As a former volunteer teacher in a rural school outside of my hometown of Mmabatho, Lesego was inspired to believe in education-based and entrepreneurship solutions to poverty. Lesego co-founded and chair Raise the Children International, a registered non-profit here in South Africa, USA and UK. Raise the Children International i identifies self- motivated orphans from impoverished and rural communities and mobilizes resources for these children to gain access to higher education that leads to employment and public service with a high return on social investment.

Her heart for sustainable education-based poverty alleviation in rural area pushed me to take the initiative further. Once she recognized the need for income generating activities to revitalize the mindset and economy of the communities from which her orphan scholars hail, she founded Bokamoso Impact investments, a social enterprise solely dedicated to uplifting remote underdeveloped areas of the country through agriculture and entrepreneurship. Bokamoso introduces innovative agricultural solutions to poverty, educates and incubates local rural entrepreneurs, and tackles lack of basic resources with commercial strategies and natural asset mobilization.

Bokamoso’s mission is to nurture the country’s rural smallholder farmers into commercial growers by tapping into their latent economic resources, which have remained unexploited for decades, such as the fertile land and most importantly the human resources .
She is also the founder of Bokamoso Foods, a subsidiary of Bokamoso Impact Investments and a 100% black women owned food and beverage company. The mission of Bokamoso Foods is to bring the delights and health-benefits of high-quality foods and beverage products to the world. Bokamoso’s goal is to see the company expanding and excelling in the food & beverage industry, generating enough profit for shareholders to create more job opportunities and to continually empower young people in rural and township environments.

After receiving her B.A. degree at the City College of New York and Masters degree at the London School of Economics as a Standard Bank Derek Cooper Scholar, Lesego spent time abroad in Asia in impoverished communities exploring the ways in which entrepreneurship presents a sustainable way to Lift whole communities economically and on a long-term scale. She felt that rural communities in her home country of South Africa had the same potential to be transformed by social entrepreneurship. After a year of research in remote Manyeledi and Tseoge villages in the North-West Province – which included an open forum, via town hall meetings, to discuss problems existing in the community and viable solutions – agriculture and entrepreneurship emerged as a multi- dimensional solution.
Lesego’s innovative and Impactful work in various communities of South Africa has been given both International and local recognitions. Her work has been featured in local and international research journals and media, her work has been featured in numerous media platforms and including her story being featured on Africa’s top women documentary for FOX. Lesego has been invited to speak and share her story in various countries across the world. Some of the countries include USA, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Botswana, Colombia and India.

She was recently given public recognition by President Jacob Zuma on June 16, as a young Achiever and Trail blazer. In June 2017, she was honoured by Mail and Guardian as one of South Africa’s 200 young leaders. An honorary Golden Key Award was bestowed upon Lesego by the University of Pretoria in October of 2017, for her servant leadership and work in developing South African youth. In August of 2018, Lesego won t he Standard Bank Top women award, alongside noticeable icons like Yvonne ChakaChaka.