About

Africa Youth Initiative (AYI) Centres is a youth mentoring service set up in Ghana, West Africa with programs currently in development in Sydney, Australia. Our aim is to support the education and development of vulnerable African youths, through committed face to face mentoring, access to educational resources and coaching.

The first AYI Centre was established in Teshie, Ghana in August 2016. With primary funding for the organisation coming directly from local sponsors in Sydney, Australia. As of 2020, with the support of key sponsors AYI is operating a fully equipped and well resourced youth centre in Ghana and developing the future of our organisation and its programs at home in Sydney, Australia.

Our Aim

AYI Centres’ mentoring programs are about providing a place for youths between the ages of 8-17yrs to gather, learn and play in a structured and supportive environment. It’s about valuing the importance of recreation in helping children learn and grow into mature adults. Each child is supported with casework, mentoring and counseling to assist not only in their long-term development.

The Story of AYI

Youth are the future of every nation. After living and travelling through various townships and villages in Ghana, the founder of AYI Centres, Bishop Laryea, a youth/community development worker in Australia, identified the need for more learning resources and programs to support the mental & social development of young people in Ghana. In 2011, he set up a small learning & recreational centre in Teshie. The heart of this learning centre was the library and the play sessions. Within 3 months, his once a week program was attracting over 60 children daily aged 4-16yrs who were very enthusiastic and well engaged with the program.

Founders of AYI Centres

Bishop Laryea
Co-Founder & Executive Director

Bishop Laryea

AYI Centres was founded by Sydney based youth and community development worker Bishop Laryea.

Bishop is committed to empowering and supporting individuals and whole communities. Over the past 17 years he has specialised in Youth and Child Development and Community Development work. Bishop has a particular interest in mental health issues, socio-economic disadvantage, youth education and community involvement and participation.

Over the years, he has worked in various locations around the world including Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, and overseas in London, UK and in Ghana, West Africa. He also spent one month in Ethiopia investigating Internationally funded community projects.

When he is not busy working he can often be found travelling the world and meditating in monasteries.

Eileen Anastas
Co-Founder & Sponsorship Director

Eileen is a retired fundraiser and event manager. She worked at St Vincent’s hospital, Sydney. She is a former member of Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and founder of Sydney JDF Walk for the Cure. She is also the co-author of two cookbooks for diabetes. Eileen has lived and worked in the UK, Belgium, USA, Malaysia and in Africa where she formed a deep attachment to the land and its people.

Faiz Jamdar
Co-Founder and Ex- Secretary

Currently studying marketing and information systems at UNSW, Faiz has a passion for helping young people and youth work. He first met Bishop when he was cold-calling youth organisations during high school to get some volunteering experience. He has experience in content marketing and social media and aims to spread the message of AYI far and wide.

Lucy Munevar
Operations Director

Lucy decided to call Australia home 9 years ago and since then she has been tirelessly working with local and multicultural communities, youth, new arrivals and the elderly as a Community Development Officer. Originating from Latin America, Lucy feel very fortunate to have worked in a variety of domains that allows her to have a broader understanding of the richness that multicultural communities provide to the development of Australia. Besides work, Lucy also loves travelling, live music and the outdoors. She is always looking for opportunities to learn about other cultures.