Yayra Tamakloe, born and raised in Ghana, Africa, immigrated to the United States in 2010. A Kent State University graduate, Yayra knew she had always wanted to be an entrepreneur and create things for herself, but didn’t know how exactly she was going to get to that point.
In 2019, Yayra formed the Pan African Library Project—a consolidated place for black people to locate black and cultural content without doing extensive research to find it. The P.A.L Project works as a movement to get these communities the resources they need to learn about and experience different and familiar cultures.
The concept for The P.A.L project was “conceived out of a frustration” from Yayra and her struggle to find black and African cultural content on the widespread internet. Because the content was there, yet so dispersed amongst platforms, Yayra wanted to create that single place for people from all different cultures to learn from and expand their outreach.
“We do ourselves a great disservice when you can achieve a certain height and you sell yourself short,” she said.
With a background in pageantry, fashion, and apparel design, Yayra emphasizes the importance of creativity in an entrepreneurial career. “These things have made me critically think and put me in situations where I have to [go] against the grain,” said Yayra.
Being an immigrant in America, especially a black woman, allows Yayra to see entrepreneurial endeavors from “two very distinct standpoints”. While there are extreme differences in cultures, Yayra stresses the similarities between Africa and America and why The P.A.L Project is necessary to spot those changes.
The P.A.L Project
Registered as a non-profit organization in Ohio, Yayra and her team deliberately chose to currently go the non-profit route in order to focus on the mission of the project instead of the pressures from investors and finances where the financial stress might overwhelm their vision. In the future, however, The P.A.L Project team hopes to have a for-profit component to work with the content they own, will own, and generate.
Not only does The P.A.L Project want a single place for black content to be located, but they also want to bring these resources to more widespread Pan-African communities. Their goal is to talk to local governments, private colleges, and public universities about their initiative and hope to get the support they need to expand.
You can read more about Yayra Tamakloe, her initiative, and her Dream It, Do It series video here!
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