Abraham Leno

Economic Empowerment & Entrepreneurship | Guinea

2015 New Voices Fellow


A former refugee in Guinea, Abraham watched his mother sell her jewelry when there was nothing left to trade just to feed the family. He and his siblings had to sell fuel in bottles on the street corners so that they could have a meal, sometimes making only a dollar a day. He says he felt and lost hope since it was all about survival. Today, Abraham is the Country Representative for the American Refugee Committee (ARC) in Bukavu Congo where he oversees the overall management of ARC programs in the country, specifically focusing on development in displacement settings. “I believe that dignity thrives through ownership and human agency”, Leno says. Leno is currently leading a social enterprise startup called “Asili,” which focuses on healthcare, water solutions, and agro-business. He is grateful to have lived beyond survival and now has a family and a home of his own and other people who look up to him. His relief and development work is inspired by memories of this kindness and the generosity of many others. Through his work he is not only reliving his past experiences but most importantly stimulating others not to just survive but develop and thrive.