Founder & President
A West Philadelphian originally from Sénégal, Aminata Sy is currently a senior at the University of Pennsylvania studying International Relations with an English minor. Sy is a 2019 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellow, where she will intern in Congress and overseas at a American Embassy and prepare to become an U.S. Foreign Service officer. A journalist since 2013, Sy has reported and written for many publications including The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Tribune, The Daily Pennsylvanian, University City Review, and Sigma Iota Rho Journal of International Relations. Her stories have mostly focused on African-American and African immigrant matters. During her travel to Sénégal in 2015, Sy reported on two stories including the Goree Island. She is a 2017 and 2016 journalism scholarship recipient from the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. As a 2016 Perry World House Inaugural Student Fellow, Sy researched on how to increase women's political participation in democratic countries worldwide, focusing on Sénégal as a case study. She has visited the U.S. Department of State and The Pentagon to meet with high ranking officials. She also met many prominent leaders like former U.S. vice-president Joe Biden, former Mongolian president Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, and former England’s House of Lords leader Lady Catherine Ashton. She further expanded her knowledge in politics while working as a press intern in summer 2016 at Philadelphia City Hall, drafting talking points for the mayor.
In summer 2017, Sy launched African Community Learning Program, a nonprofit organization empowering people of African background through education. The organization has helped guide students in grades 1-8 in their academics, integration into American society, and cultural pride. Sy is also the founder, editor, and publisher of the #500EmpoweringAfricanStories, a project that has created a content-relevant library for African Community Learning Program’s curriculum. Sy led African Community Learning Program at the Wharton Startup Challenge competition, where the organization became a 2018 Social Impact Finalist. During her downtime, Sy enjoys reading and spending time with family. She plans to pursue graduate studies with a focus on public policy and to join the U.S. Foreign Service to become a diplomat.
A longtime resident of Philadelphia, Abdoul Wane was one the first Africans in the city. He has been a community leader, helping mostly West Philadelphia African immigrants with interpretation, filing documents related to immigration, hospitals, and driver’s licenses, among others. Wane is fluent in Pulaar, Wolof, French, and English.
He also worked in New Jersey for Urban School Services Corps as a community resource developer. There, Wane implemented and managed after school programs for John G. Whittier Elementary School, organized mentoring programs that included both academic and activities for students, and provided counseling for parents and students on life skills. Serving for African Community Learning Program has been a natural fit for Wane, given his extensive experience supporting African immigrant communities. Wane holds bachelor degrees in sociology and in philosophy from the University of Paris VIII in France.
Daniel Akuma is a fourth-year MD-PhD dual degree student at the University of Pennsylvania with plans to become a pediatric infectious disease physician-scientist. Daniel was born and raised in southeastern Nigeria and arrived in the US in 2010 to study neuroscience at Kenyon College, OH. Ever the champion of grass-roots education, Daniel has been involved with tutoring for a long time. After completing his A-levels in Nigeria, he jumped on the opportunity to tutor struggling high-school students in his home town of Abakaliki, Nigeria toward completing their West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE – the equivalent of a GED in the US).
Following his first year of college in the US, he received a highly coveted $10,000 grant from the Davis Projects for Peace to teach First Aid and basic CPR techniques to high school students and community members in rural southwestern Nigeria. This experience underscored the urgency for culturally-inclusive education and a top priority to Daniel. Throughout college, Daniel tutored local community grade school students in social studies and mathematics. He also served as lead tutor for the Math and Science Skills Center at Kenyon College, helping younger students through complex homework assignments in organic chemistry and biology. In tune with his devotion to culturally-inclusive education, Daniel helped organize Kenyon College Camp 4, an intensive summer college-prep camp for minority high school students from inner-city schools and diverse socio-economic backgrounds.
Daniel has been tutoring at African Community Learning Program (ACLP) since its inaugural year and immediately made his impact felt as he recruited many Penn medical students as volunteer tutors for ACLP, through his position as co-president of the African Health Interest Group (AHIG). Daniel owes his drive to the many teachers who bent over backwards so he could stand, especially his fifth-grade teacher, Mr. Nwakile. His philosophy of paying it forward is what has kept him at ACLP all these years. He looks forward to the next two years as ACLP’s Program Director!
A North Philadelphia native, Hazim Hardeman is a scholar, educator, and recent graduate of Temple University where he studied Strategic Communication, concentrating in rhetoric and public advocacy. On November 2017, Harderman became Temple University’s first ever Rhodes Scholar and will be pursuing his graduate studies at Oxford University in England come fall 2018.
Hardeman attended Philadelphia public schools where he developed a passion for issues around educational equity.
Hardeman manifest this passion through his scholarship and public service. Most recently, Hardeman worked as a Research and Policy Fellow at the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity. It is Hardeman’s desire to continue to do work that empowers and develops community that has led him to African Community Learning Program.
Similoluwa Ayinde, a junior at the Wharton School, was born in Rhode Island but grew up in Nigeria. She completed High school in Canterbury where she became fascinated with the culture. This passion for culture fuelled her love for languages which she believes connects people of different backgrounds.
Simi, a 2018 Howard E. Mitchel Scholarship Recipient and a 2019 Hoesley Digital Literacy Fellow, is currently studying Business Management and Marketing at the University of Pennsylvania. Outside the classroom, she serves as the President of Nigerians at Penn (NAP), and the Marketing Chair for the Nigerian Collegiate Conference (NCC) as well as the Black Ivy League Conference (BILBCon), where she will spearhead the marketing strategies through branding and promotional materials. It was Simi's desire not only be a part of a life-changing program but also to serve the students that led her to the African Community Learning Program.
Wilnaphekie Taloute is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Sociology and Africana Studies with a Spanish minor. Through multiple student clubs, she participates in social activities that support local and international communities through service. She served as the chair of internal affairs for Penn Circle of Women, a club that mobilizes students to provide access to education for girls without it. She also spends her time working in West Philadelphia public school libraries as a way to give back to the community. She is fluent in English, French, Haitian Creole, and some Spanish.
Since moving to the United States from Haiti in 2011, Wilnaphekie has developed an interest in the immigrant experience, and has grown to appreciate her interactions with people from diverse backgrounds. She attended public schools in Long Island where she faced some challenges adjusting to her new environment. Her experiences have inspired her to empower others going through similar ones; an invaluable opportunity offered by
the African Community Learning Program.