Omar Mbodj is working to be a living embodiment of Howard University’s motto, “In truth and service.” As a senior, Mbodj knows first hand the benefit of learning at a school with the proper resources. Howard has served as a launching pad for his career.
Mbodj wants to make sure other students have the same chance. On Jan. 6, he started a global initiative entitled, “Renovate Education.” His hope is to improve the learning conditions for elementary school students from his home village, Mbodjene, in Senegal, West Africa, by raising money with his brother, Ali Mbodj, via GoFundMe.
According to Mbodj, Mbodjene is home to the Walo-Walo people and Thiédo Warriors who defeated colonization. Although he loves returning to his village because of the collectivist nature of his family, he finds it unfortunate that the quality of life is not ideal. Mbodj believes that investing in the education of the younger generation will ensure a brighter future for students and their families.
“They are working with very minimal school supplies and overall facility level; it’s very sad,” said Mbodj. “ There’s a definite feeling that I can do something about it, especially with my Howard network, I know I can make a difference.”
Mbodj’s goal is to renovate the broken floors and walls; purchase desks and chairs to accommodate all the students; install two restrooms, a small computer lab, library, solar panels, and an enclosed playground that is safe for kids to perform recreational activities and engage in sports. Mbodj hopes to start building this month and complete the project by the end of the summer.
This is not the first time that Mbodj has given back to his village. In Dec. 2021, Mbodj held a prize competition that rewarded students who received the best grades with tablets.
“I was elated by the extent to which students valued education and were eager to learn more,” Mbodj said. “They all would like to seek a profession in law, medicine, or tech.”
So far, the Mbodj brothers have raised nearly $4,000 out of their $20,000 goal on GoFundMe. Mbodj credits an effort from the Bison community and his line brothers from the Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alph Fraternity Incorporated.
“All of my line brothers have been really helpful in this process – a lot of them have helped raise funds through sharing and donating,” Mbodj said. “Many are willing to help and be hands on with building.”
To find out more about Mbodj’s cause and to donate you can visit the Go Fund Me here.