Run for Africa: Turn Tensions of Africans Migration into Solutions

            By James Kerkula – August 19, 2018

      Judging from the news headlines and the horror of capsized boats on the Mediterranean Sea, one might think that the entire African continent is moving North (Europe and North America). That may be true. From the dawn of creation, Africans (arguably, the entire human race) have always moved North, according to Biblical and scientific scholars. But that’s not the point of this blog.

 I am talking about our current situation where Africans are dying trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe;[i] or losing limbs in the unforgiven winter of North America attempting to cross the American-Canadian border.[ii]

Because of the hash political and socioeconomic realities on the continent, many Africans are leaving the continent in search of green pastures in the North as their human forebears did centuries ago. The difference is they are currently leaving in droves compared to their ancestors who traveled in small packs without the spotlights of international media and glaring cameras.

So, let’s not think it strange that our current generation of African brothers and sisters are following the paths of their ancestors and frankly, ours. Think about it: How did we humans (black, white, brown, green, etc.) get to Asia, Australia, Europe, the Americas and even Antarctica?

The real question is how do we in the North and recent arrivals from Africa (called them African immigrants, if you believe your ancestors came from Mars or elsewhere outside planet earth), can assist our fellow nomadic brothers and sisters on our ancestry continent to avoid the hazardous voyage across the Mediterranean or the wintery North American border?

Many commentators believe, and rightly so, that the combined European and North American economies do not have the capacities to absorb endless flow of immigrants in general and the influx of Africans in particular. And so, what are the options for curtailing the outflow of Africans from the continent?

Migration experts (I am not one) have proposed varying strategies, including international intervention by world bodies and transactional migration (temporary work visas).  But these may be stopgap measures since the current “sub-Saharan African population which is currently only slightly greater than that of all of Europe is expected to be almost six times greater by 2100. Thus, economic migration will, if anything, increase.”[iii]

The good news is that many Africans aboard are providing temporary assistance, including remittances, as well as working with others to find continentwide, long-tem intervention mechanisms to Africa’s political and socioeconomic challenges.

One tiny but significant long-term solution is an emerging STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education curriculum for young women and girls, the Liberia Institute for Girls – Todee (LIG) project for the Todee region of Liberia.  The mission of the LIG is to “Teach a Girl to Fish” - by aligning her education with STEM-careers and habit of health, encourage her to strive for gender-parity blended in compassion, and connect her with exemplary global women-leadership.

The Vice President of the Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, Dr. Zoann Parker, who serves as chair of the LIG’s board of directors, has informed us that her college has agreed to send a technical team to Liberia to assist in the construction of the campus and buildings of the school, if we can purchase materials for construction. Additionally, in partnership with Earth Forward Group, the technical team will provide training to develop a local Liberian construction workforce, complete with sustainable construction best practices, to erect the school and campus in an environmentally responsible fashion.

The Run for Africa event - scheduled for September 23rd in Philadelphia is aimed at raising seed money to buy building materials, as agreed-upon with Stevens College and other partners. Dr. Tony Campolo, Professor Emeritus at Eastern University and former Advisor to President Bill Clinton, will serve as keynote speaker for a mini-fundraiser for the project in March 2019.

How You Can Help!

1.      Register and run/walk with us on September 23rd –

2.      Recruit family, friends and colleagues to run/walk with us

3.      Make a financial contribution

For more information, contact

·         Dr. Lewis Thomas Gemmill, DVM – board member of the LIG project: – (717) 575-6241

·         Ryan Walsh – Race manager, Bryn Mawr Running Company: – (484) 686-5900


[i] Branko Milanovic on 24 June 2015 - Five Reasons Why Migration Into Europe Is A Problem With No Solution – 24 Juine 2015, Social Europe.

[i][i] Tim Craig - As migrants flee for Canada, fears are rising over the over the perils of frigid illegal crossings – December 15, 2017, Washington Post.

[ii] Tim Craig - As migrants flee for Canada, fears are rising over the over the perils of frigid illegal crossings – December 15, 2017, Washington Post.


[iii] Ibid


James Kerkula