Alumnus Anthony (Tony) Abuta is a great example of how UT Dallas alumni are benefitting the world in a big way. Tony, a native of Kenya, currently works as a senior RF engineer and project lead at Nortel in Richardson, Texas. He was drawn to UT Dallas as a result of the great reputation of the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. During his time at UT Dallas, Tony was involved in the co-op program, student government, Phi Theta Kappa and recreational activities such as the Ultimate Soccer team. He gives credit to these extracurricular activities for connecting him with fellow alumni and faculty, many of whom he still networks with to this day.
He is also the founder and executive director of the Amsha Africa Foundation.
"Amsha" is a Swahili word meaning "wake up."
The Amsha Africa Foundation was created in June 2008 to enhance the living standards of people within some of the poorest villages in Africa. Amsha Africa's mission is to reduce chronic social concerns such as hunger, disease, illiteracy, unemployment, substandard housing and poor sanitation within these villages.
Tony became interested in creating the foundation through the experiences of his childhood and many return visits to Kenya and other third world countries. He says that he “realized how blessed and privileged I was living and working in America, and how much of a difference I can make by starting a foundation that will lift the poor out of poverty with dignity.” In 2008, with the help of his sister and mother, Tony began to implement the ground work of the foundation in Kenya. They worked closely with community groups, local authorities, and other non-profit organizations to find programs best suited to the mission of the Amsha Africa Foundation. Tony now visits Kenya each year to oversee any ongoing programs that the foundation is supporting.
In May, the Amsha Africa Foundation began working on the Nairobi Kawangware Slum Project. Through the project, the Foundation works with other organizations such as the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) to promote free medical checkups, tree planting, environmental cleanup, sporting events and training workshops for the community. In addition, free testing for diseases along with testing for eye and dental problems will be offered. The program also hopes to offer training workshops geared to teach the local community about self-help programs. The foundation is also working with several communities in Kenya to start self-help programs to aid impoverished communities and train youth to start small businesses.
When asked about any advice Tony would give to motivate others, he offered the following: “Try to find your passion and follow it. What really motivates you? Become involved in some sort of volunteer work that will help someone else. Through the act of giving to others, you will feel more alive and a greater sense of purpose. Keep in touch with your friends and faculty. They will be a great networking resource down the line.”
To learn more about the work being done through the Amsha Africa Foundation, visit www.amshaafrica.org.