Allan van der Meulen, who was born in the Cape Flats, wants to see people in his community living without poverty, able to pursue their dreams. To this end, Van der Meulen co-founded Zlto, an app that rewards young people in South Africa for volunteering; in exchange they are rewarded with vouchers, which they can use to buy essential services. In addition, the individuals who complete the tasks gain valuable work experience. Since the app was launched in 2016, it has assisted more than 25 000 young people.
While the app has gathered momentum, Van der Meulen says he did not imagine that one day he would be in meetings with executives from companies he had only heard and read about. His advice to young people is to follow the advice they are given and try to learn as much as they can. Besides that, he said people should strive to be better than yesterday and listen to their intuition.
“The funny thing about advice; people can try to convince you to do something, but you need your own Eureka moment to really understand how to apply it.”
He also believes in doing research and not blindly accepting what you have been told.
The business he is in has taught him that a person does not need to “trade income for impact”; he adds that it’s something that people in impoverished communities are not taught about.
He says he wants young people to understand that although their circumstances may make it difficult to achieve big goals, it’s not impossible.