In March of 2013 at 2:00am, aboard the MV Explorer, with Semester at Sea’s ship was less than twenty-four hours from docking in Cape Town. A friend, Romain; now VisualAid board member, and Xavier began discussing a company we could create while we were living on the ship. He suggested that we create a magazine to inspire, motivate, and expand the horizons of what underprivileged children believe they can achieve, especially young women. Recognizing the opportunity, he spent the rest of that night and most of the next day writing the first issue of the magazine, VisualAid. As he worked on that first issue, he had many doubts running through his mind. How will he get the magazine to an orphanage? Will the children know English? Will the children like the magazine? At the time, he did not even have a way to publish it.
Fortunately, he finished writing it and printed three copies on the ship’s public printer just as they were docking. Once he had landed, he gave them away at the Baphumele Orphanage in one of Cape Town’s poorest townships, after the founder of the orphanage insisted that he autograph them. Later, as he steamed up the west coast of Africa, he decided it would be more effective to read the magazine aloud to the children at his next stop in Accra, Ghana. He went back to the drawing board: his sister Sharai emailed a poem, he wrote more stories of inspirational figures, and other students got involved to help him distribute the magazine. The children loved it! And as we say – “the rest is history”