Africa is changing, and it is changing quickly.

Every day, we see stories of desperate journeys undertaken by those trying to find a better life. We believe that life is possible anywhere, if people are given the opportunity to create it.

But this is not a project just about giving. This project is about building bridges.

Our mission is to learn from the wonders of Africa and its people – their connection to the land,
their spirituality, and their energy.

In return, we are sharing our knowledge and tools to help the villagers of Abéné take advantage of the
natural resources around them and build a village for the future.

We don’t want to define what they need or how they live. We want to offer little things that work.
Little things that’ll make a big difference.

Doug Manuel

Founder and Director, Sewa Beats

Doug Manuel dedicates his life to building bridges between Africa and the West and Lighting Up Lives is testament to this.
His love for Africa was born when he attended a djembe workshop in 1995. This was consolidated when he worked on a documentary about African elephants. He left his career at the BBC in 1997 and spent two years in West Africa studying the music and history of the djembe.

In 2000 he founded Sewa Beats International.

Doug’s mission is to inspire people and corporations to find their real value and purpose. He wants to help them connect to those around them, becoming true leaders.

Doug’s family is at the heart of all he does. “My son means the world to me. He is one of my biggest teachers.” When he’s not working, developing himself, or travelling, Doug can be found at his home in Senegal, exploring the great outdoors and learning from the natural world.

Simon Lagger

Educational and Exchange partner

Simon Lagger is Director of the Primary and Secondary schools of Genolier, Switzerland and the surrounding area. After a university degree in Lausanne and a brief career as a teacher in public education, he now works as a private security executive. Believing in man’s ability and desire to be educated, he and his team work to further the prospects of the young people in Switzerland.

Pascal Goulpie


Pascal has spent over 20 years working in the renewable energy and environmental impacts sectors. During this time, he’s also been part of many volunteer projects in both developing countries and in his native Switzerland.

His solar awning prototype, simple illustration of a concrete building integration of PV energy, was honored by WWF canton Vaud and City of Lausanne in 2004. He joined then the start-up company Flexcell responsible for developing more solutions on solar integration.

In 2008, Pascal co-founded Planet Solar (of which he was CEO and a board member from 2010 to 2015.). In 2012, after 585 days of navigation, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar completed its round the world tour, powered 100% by photovoltaic (solar) energy. Since that trip, Pascale managed the process of converting the boat into a zero emissions scientific and communication platform.

Since this great achievement, Pascale has been working as the Renewable Energy Manager at the Race for Water Foundation. The foundation fights against the pollution of the oceans and works to convert plastic and the other rubbish in our seas into energy.

This is just the beginning.

Join us on our journey to empower the people of Abéné – helping them take advantage of the
wealth of resources around them.