About

African Youth Initiative (AYI) Centres is a new specialist youth service set up in Ghana to support the education and development of local ‘at risk,’ vulnerable young people. We are a non for profit small organisation registered both in Australia and in Ghana.

AYI Centres’ first centre was established in Teshie in August 2016. Funds to run the Centres are sourced from sponsors and donors both in Ghana and abroad.

Aims of AYI Centres

AYI and its Recreational Incentive Smart Education (RISE) program is about providing a place for children and youth between the ages 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 will be supported with casework, mentoring and counseling for those youth at risk will be a key part of the program.

The Story of AYI

Youth are the future of every nation. After living and traveling through various townships and villages in Ghana, the founder of A.Y.I Centres, Bishop Laryea, a youth/community development worker and previous manager of a youth centre 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 aged 4-16 who were very enthusiastic and well engaged with the program.

Bishop Laryea
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 15 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 traveling 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 & Board 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.