by Marlene Mostert

Once the Summit Ended, I Was So Excited to Get Home and Put These New Ideas Into Action

As I venture home, I see streets dressed in equality. I see inspired children exploring nature in the surroundings. I hear the undisturbed waves meeting the shorelines, birds racing the winds of earth, that fill our lungs with everlasting breath. A trail of them chasing the flourishing sea life. Calmness is upon us. We are grounded in our interconnection as a community, where civilisation and nature flow like thriving ecosystems that have shaped the earth as we know it. 

My journey comes to a standstill, I open my eyes to find that we haven’t reached our destination yet. The way we have been moving forward has drawn us further away from the place that we call home. 

By taking our first step, we pave the way to the envisioned future, a place where civilization and nature co-exist in unity.

Taking the First Step: My Application Experience

I’m Marlene, an 18-year-old student from Cape Town, South Africa. I’ve been working on my project for several months, driven by my passion for uplifting the community. Discovering the beVisioneers Fellowship was a turning point after researching various initiatives. By observing and discussing unaddressed issues in my local community, I realized the immense potential for positive change. Now, with this opportunity, I am eager to put my ideas into action and make a real impact on the ground.

The beVisioneers Fellowship is my first fellowship experience. After searching for multiple opportunities to learn and grow as an entrepreneur, and to set my project up for success. I came across the opportunity through an Instagram Ad. I applied on their website. It was an easy straightforward process to complete all their questions. I was impressed by the clear, step-by-step instructions given to create my video submission and easy to understand language. This is a global fellowship, whereby applicants from all cultures and demographics can apply. 

I was super excited when I was invited for an interview, despite facing connectivity issues and other difficulties on my first interview. The team brought a strong message that the beVisioneers Fellowship is specifically designed for accessibility, to bring opportunity to the people who want to create change for a planet positive future, despite the economic disparities, challenges and inequalities they might face. This was only the beginning of the key details that I saw, that represented their inclusiveness and the values they live up to. 

My Summit Experience & My Biggest Takeaway

At the beVisioneers Regional Summit in Johannesburg, we had many insightful sessions of critical thinking, learning, teamwork and attending discussions and truly defining what sustainability and change-making means for us as youth leaders. We had so many memorable experiences; from meeting all these wonderfully-minded people, from our work sessions, games, our nature excursion and our evening of celebration. It was a transformational experience, one we will cherish for a lifetime. 

One of my many treasured experiences in the Summit was when we had the opportunity to share our collective categories of our most pressing issues with our projects, forming groups to brainstorm them. We utilized open space technology for problem solving and co-creation. Witnessing the collective insight and eagerness to support one another as project founders was inspiring. It became evident that everyone had faced challenges for which someone else had a solution. The collaborative nature of the session accelerated our journeys, enabling us to approach setbacks with newfound ideas and determination.

I also greatly enjoyed learning about the heritage of Mercedes-Benz and learning how their success has been inspired by diverse people recognising potential in each other and supporting each other.

My biggest takeaway from the beVisioneers Regional Summit was the diversity in leaders I met all around and watching the eager co-creation and collaboration just branch into an interconnected community. From the brilliant teams, experts, facilitators, to the Mercedez-Benz representatives and to all the Fellows. The approaches and the critical thinking, the insights and the initiatives these amazing people have taken has inspired me to see the bigger picture, from all critical angles.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. ” 

 – John Quincy Adams 

We All Share a Common Goal; Building a Planet-Positive Future  

What I brought back home with me was, that all these diverse brilliant-minded leaders from all backgrounds, demographics, industries, and journeys have come together to eagerly share ideas, knowledge, perspectives and to form practical networks among other Fellows. We can grow as a community of leaders by uplifting and supporting each other on our lifelong change-making visions. 

My Excitement for the Future of the Program 

A message that truly resonated with me was this; intelligence and creativity are distributed equally around the world, but opportunity isn’t. The future expansion of this program gives me so much hope and joy that accessibility to change-making opportunities will not be a barrier in the future.

As the first group of 100 Fellows, we have formed a life-long community, much like the thriving ecosystems found in nature – the beauty of the design of this program will enable it to prosper and regenerate with the future Fellows to come on this incredible journey too. 

Marlene is a 2023 beVisioneers Fellow from South Africa. Her planet-positive project is to collect plastic waste from participating schools in exchange for credit on an app where the schools can receive educational experiences. Marlene would then repurpose the plastic waste to build desks and other resources for less privileged schools.

Leave a Comment


  1. Enock NamunaneThis is a great project that will ultimately contribute to beating plastic pollution. All the best Marlene👌.

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