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Double ASU graduate wins prestigious award for work in Africa

Shantel Marekera to receive $19,500 to support an education project she founded in home country of Zimbabwe


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September 26, 2022

Shantel Marekera, a double graduate of Arizona State University, recently was awarded the Äänit Prize from the Mandela Rhodes Foundation.

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation is Nelson Mandela’s official organization for leadership development. The Äänit Prize funds social-impact projects in Africa. Marekera will receive $19,500 to support an education project she founded in her native country of Zimbabwe.

Portrait of ASU grad Shantel Marekera. She has long dark hair and wears a black blazer over a blue shirt with her arms crossed while smiling at the camera.
ASU alum and Rhodes Scholar Shantel Marekera is the founder of the Little Dreamers Foundation, which runs an affordable preschool in Zimbabwe. She also founded the Female Dreamers Foundation, which focuses on job creation and financial sufficiency for the parents of students being educated through the Little Dreamers Foundation.

Marekera, who was an ASU Mastercard Scholar, received a bachelor’s degree in justice studies with honors from Barrett, The Honors College in 2018 and a master’s degree in justice studies in 2019, both from the School of Social Transformation. As a Rhodes Scholar, she completed a degree in jurisprudence and law at the University of Oxford in 2022. She also has served as a Global Peace Ambassador in Zimbabwe for Global Peace Chain.

She is the founder of the Little Dreamers Foundation, which runs an affordable preschool in the underserviced neighborhoods of Budiriro Cabs, Zimbabwe. She also founded the Female Dreamers Foundation, which focuses on job creation and financial sufficiency for the parents of students being educated through the Little Dreamers Foundation.

MORE: The dream maker — how Marekera is helping preschoolers in Zimbabwe

“I am filled with gratitude to my Rhodes community, my team at Little Dreamers Foundation, the Budiriro Cabs and Glenview community, and all the organizations that have partnered with Little Dreamers. I didn’t do this alone,” Marekera said.

Marekera plans to use her prize money to purchase land to build a school for students from preschool to primary school in Zimbabwe.

Read more about the Äänit Prize.

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