Abdurahman Ali Mohammed

From: Ethiopia (Currently in Turkey)

Age: 24

Activity: Computer Engineering Graduate (Master’s) Student at Dokuz Eylul University.

I am Abdurahman Ali Mohammed, Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering from Addis Ababa Science and Technology University in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (2014-2018). I am currently a graduate student at Dokuz Eylul University in Turkey.  I define myself as a person who always gives his best in whatever he does, who is always looking to learn, and a person who likes things straightforward. In life, I always strive to stay motivated, optimistic, creative, and empathic in whatever circumstances I am in.

I grew up in a family of 3 kids where I am the first child. Being the first child in the house, despite its responsibilities, is something I enjoyed in my life. I assume that I a good model for my younger siblings. My parents brought me up to love my education as they were both employed in a university. Hence, I can say that I have always strived to please my family with my academics, and I loved it. The only disagreement I had with my family that I remember was because of my love for soccer. I love soccer that I wanted to join teams at a young age and make a future out of it. That certainly did not make my dad happy and I was told to play soccer only once a week. To disobey my parents is the last thing I want to do. So, I focused on my studies and joined University.

During my time in university, I got to know a lot of people, ranging from drug addicts to people who live for a goal they put in life. I believe that as long as you’re not lost in other people’s lives, it is good to get closer and see the world from their perspectives. That way I met life-long friends who have priceless places in my heart. One might ask “How is it to study for a bachelor’s degree in a sub-Saharan country?” and I would certainly respond “Difficult!”. I had to go through each problem one can think of during my time on campus. Problems start from the shortage of water and lack of internet access all the way to security issues that were caused by political demonstrations. However, the problems that we face are what make us stronger in our lives. For someone like me who saw the extreme, nothing would ever be a hurdle between him and success.

Regarding my studies, I managed to become the highest-scoring student in the entire university which got me the gold medal prize. Whenever I get asked about the proudest moment in my life, the immediate answer I give is “My graduation day”, This is because I saw pure happiness in my parents’ eyes when I was called to the stage to take my prize. It was hard not to cry when your loved ones feel extreme pride in you. All the hard work paid off as I was named Ambassador of science and Technology by the Ethiopian ministry of science and Technology.

Right after graduation, I had to go through the offers I had on hand. I have a huge passion for teaching and I wanted to work as an instructor for some time. Unfortunately, the offer I had to teach was not attractive as I expected it to be. Therefore, I thought about getting some market experience by working for an IT company as a Software Engineer. That way, I will get the experience I need to build and run my own business later in my life. Accordingly, I decided to work in an IT company and started my first job. Although it was stressful and busy, I learned a ton of things including how to handle clients, how to carry out projects, and more importantly what it takes to work in the IT industry. In the meanwhile, I had the urge to start my own startup. So, I decided to take a small training on business concepts and startups. After working for about 10 months employed, I decided to study for my Master’s degree abroad. It was hard to fund my studies so I applied for a couple of scholarships.

Thankfully, I won a scholarship to study Master’s degree in Turkey. It was a very crucial opportunity for me because it was a chance to get educated and at the same time get some exposure. As it was my first time traveling abroad, it was a bit scary. Yet it was something I had to do. I came to Turkey in 2019 and started studying the Turkish language before proceeding to my main studies. That time I met people from all over the world and got to widen my perspective of the world. After successfully completing the Turkish language education, I am currently studying Computer Engineering.

The goal I am currently striving for is to finish my studies and start my own business in my country Ethiopia. I want to apply computer engineering to the field of agriculture on which the country’s economy is based on. I believe that there is a huge opportunity for technology companies to make use of in Ethiopia and I want to be part of that. It is my dream to do something beneficial to me as well as the world. I want the work I do to have a positive impact on people’s lives and better their lives. If every one of us does a tiny bit of what we can to make this world better, I am sure that this world would become a better place to live in. I have always tried to look into the world from their shoes. This helps me maintain the empathic feeling inside me. Of course, this has never been always good as I have been double-crossed by people. But I always believe that it’s our kindness and positivity that keeps this world running.

ANASTASIA KISTEN

Anastasia Kisten

From: Durban, South Africa

Age: 26

Activity: Second Year Candidate Legal Practitioner

I am a graduate from the University of South Africa who holds two degrees namely; a  Bachelor of Commerce with a double major in Law and Business Management as well  as a postgraduate Bachelor of Laws (LLB).  

An extremely motivated individual who is always seeking to make a positive impact  wherever I may find myself, my purpose is to use my skillset and abilities to change  my environment and uplift those around me.  

This had led me to pursue law and ultimately becoming a Candidate Legal  Practitioner who belongs to the Legal Practice Council of South Africa.  

I have been fortunate enough to have two supportive parents who have always wanted  me to succeed in everything that I have put my mind to. They allowed me the freedom  to choose the direction and path I had envisioned for myself, making me the master of  my own destiny. Throughout my schooling career I have been bestowed with many  awards and accolades most notably for excelling in multiple languages namely;  English, Afrikaans and Hindi. I also took on positions of leadership both in high school  and university.  

Due to my excellent marks in High School, I was able to obtain bursaries for my tertiary education and had been placed on the Merit list for achieving an overall aggregate of  75% during the duration of my degrees. This meant that I was part of the top 15%  within the legal faculty of my university. 

I was fortunate enough to gain extensive exposure of the working world as a summer  and winter intern by working at five established law firms whilst completing my studies.  They include: Eversheds Sutherland, Cox Yeats, Biccari Bollo Mariano Incorporated,  Singh and Garbaran Attorneys and Millers Incorporated.  

I then went on to work for Deloitte South Africa within a month of my second graduation  and took on the position of a Junior Consultant in the Risk Advisory Division. This role  had given new meaning to the phrase “to hit the ground running”. Once I had  completed my contract at Deloitte on Project Oxford I was contacted by Millers  Incorporated to complete my practical vocational training as an attorney-in-training.  

These opportunities broadened my horizons and helped shape my overall outlook.  Theoretical and practical knowledge are worlds apart and one needs to acquaint themselves with both in order to become a force to be reckoned with.

There exists a quota system that limits the amount of students admitted to university  programmes based on race. Being a South African of Indian descent, I have been  heavily setback by this restriction of access. The purpose of the quota system had  been to rectify the injustices of the past, namely the consequences of Apartheid South  Africa.  

However, the quota does not consider South Africans of Indian descent as previously disadvantaged even though the law was not in our favor during the era of Apartheid. Bearing this in mind, I have had to make certain that I met the quota and this had contributed to my determination to succeed.  

I had been selected as one of one hundred and fifty women countrywide to attend the  Rand Merchant Bank Future Women in Financial Services Seminar. This seminar had  been a networking event aimed at attracting future talent and encouraging women to  take more positions of leadership in the corporate world. 

In my final year of university, I was voted most likely to succeed. This achievement has both resonated with and instilled in me a confidence that is cemented.

Having now entered the legal fraternity I would one day like to become a Judge or  Magistrate so that I may impact change on the poor and marginalised in society. With  the court exposure I have as an attorney-in-training, I have seen first-hand the  significance of education or the lack thereof of the majority of South Africans who  continue to trap themselves in the cycle of poverty.  

I hope that my judgments and discernment may contribute to a South Africa that is geared towards reformation and progressive thinking. I want to look back fifty years from now and revel in the fact that I have lived a meaningful and fulfilled life. 

I believe that charity begins at home and once I am in a position of influence, I would like to make a life-changing contribution to society. I belong to multiple non-profit organizations which I have joined since the age of 10. From doing street collections of monies to make food parcels for the poor, to assisting the impoverished with pro bono legal advice during university, I am no stranger to viewing life through the kaleidoscope of the have-nots. This has only ever developed my emotional intelligence allowing me to make rational decisions as opposed to those which are purely reactionary in nature.  I have always and will always be involved with whichever community I may find myself in. 

Andrew

Andrew Okello

From: Kampala Uganda

Age: 22

Activity: Student and Junior Data Scientist

I am a student at reading for a bachelors’ degree in computer science and for sometime close to 2 years I have been learning data science which makes me a junior data scientist.  I am a person who is interested in leadership and teamwork and this is seriously backed up by my current roles as a volunteer at the opencode Foundation, StartHub Africa ambassador for my university and also, he co-lead of the student developer club at my school.

I am driven by the need to help the tech community and also developing applications that help improve people’s ways of living like in the health sector.

My Journey has been quite a hard one in terms of education because I am someone who wants to reap big in my career. This has drawn my efforts to studying too many online courses that guide me to become a better data scientist. All this is because I want to land an opportunity to do my master’s degree abroad If god blesses me with one.

My achievements are all from the education sector with certifications in data science by datacamp,

I have also been lucky to be a seed for the future, this is a program organized by Huawei technologies. I have also been able to join the opencode Foundation as a volunteer to help extend computer science to communities that have no access to computer education. Recently, I have been appointed as the ambassador for Starthub Africa in my university and not to forget being a co-lead for Developer students club Mbarara University of science and Technology.

My next goal is to accomplish my bachelor’s degree in computer science and be able to apply for a scholarship to do my masters away from my home country.

 No one can tell the future my mind is focused on being a good data scientist and shape my career to be a memorable one.

 If I would really love to help the world, my mind would focus on the health sector .and using the data science skills I am learning, I should be able to develop solutions that will solve some of the challenges in the world especially in health sector.

Bonolo Molato

Bonolo Molato

From: South Africa, originally from Kimberley in the Northern Cape.I ,however, currently reside in Cape Town.

Age: 24

Activity: Corporate marketing assistant for a global recruitment agency SALT.

I am a next generation visionary who holds a Bachelor of Social Science degree from the University of Cape Town majoring in Political Science and Economic history.  I am an experienced Fashion stylist, digital marketer, advertising enthusiast and aspiring entrepreneur. I have a passion for all things aesthetic which drive consumer behavior, from advertising to being a fashion stylist, and tell captivating stories and grow audiences by offering creative and innovative marketing solutions. 

I love all things creative and I am passionate about transforming my community, and the world.  An ambitious , resilient and creative determined black young women I am -who live to empower those who come from similar circumstances and help them rise above . I use my professions as a means to advance myself and to empower others by teaching the skills I have learnt so that they too are able to create a future that will impact generations to come.

I define myself through many words: unique, talented, diverse, honest, humble, resilient, courageous, and ambitious. A melting pot of different specialties, I express through my passion and loyalty to improving my community, and while trying to sustain a life in a country that ranks 84th on the global inequality scale. I seek to continuously grow and expand my knowledge on a plethora of disciplines. 

self-improvement and always super eager to learn new things and expand on existing knowledge and strives to make a difference in the world in any way possible if it paves way to a better tomorrow.

 hrough perusing my passion I’ve had the opportunity to experience and enjoy a multitude of careers and passions, despite level inequality and resources.  I see myself as an honest leader, who makes the most of any circumstance regardless of the possibility of hurdles along the way. 

The importance and joy of not being limited to one industry really motivate me to live everyday, so why not explore?  Pursing a career in fashion, digital marketing, advertising and entrepreneurship in this lifetime is something that was considered being to be taboo for many just a few years ago, yet technology, opportunity and possibility is really what sparked my motivation.

I have a passion for all things aesthetic;  consumer behavior,. I am an ambitious and resilient leader and creative who expresses her truth through pursuing multiple careers using modern media and technology.  I define myself through many words: unique, talented, diverse, honest, humble, resilient, courageous, and ambitious – an amalgamation of traits that I express through my passion and loyalty to improving my community, and myself.  I am passionate about self-improvement and always super eager to learn new things and expand on existing knowledge and strives to make a difference in the world in any way possible if it paves the way to a better tomorrow. 

Achieving the African dream of success and creating an improved future with limitless opportunity for the African child is what motivates and drives my daily hustle. Knowing that my hard work, resilience, and perseverance will help many within my community and throughout the continent achieve greater financial, social and professional success which will hopefully translate into generational wealth within the African community is what keeps we awake and going.  My ambition in life is to become a leading African media and business mogul on the global stage, who serves to be an example and inspiration of the possibilities the world has instore for young and talented youth. 

My journey has been interesting. I remember where I come from and look forward to where I want to head to.  With the South African education system ranked at 84th in 2020 and the youth unemployment rate for young people between the ages 15-24, the most vulnerable within the and South African labor market with the unemployment rate climbing at 59,0%. With inequality, being at a all time high achieving your dreams for many South Africans is a far fetch reality for many. Lie did not always present favorable outcomes but many hustle and try to make their daily bread despite the state of affairs. For education was the only possibility of possibly having limitless dreams and I was not willing to compromise on that. 

Having been in a previously dis-advantage school, I skipping school due to loadshedding, having classes as big as 40 students per class was a reality. Although we know this fact, it never robbed us from fostering good relationships and most importantly it definitely did not stop me from dreaming. My circumstances inspire and motivate me to be more than what my present seems to be , If anything, I am truly grateful for those experiences.

Given the above the importance to pursue more than one passion was a matter of urgency and with a incredible support system and partner we somehow manage to all keep it going, while doing what we love.  I strongly believe this would not be possible without two factors; accessible and opportunity which in this case I want to pass on to generations to come in hopes of building a stronger Africa.  

In a way my, ‘weaknesses’ became my strength. The growing possibility of a brighter future which I can be a part of can is a crazy dream but why not?

Daniel Archer

Daniel Archer

From: Johannesburg, South Africa

Age: 20

Activity: currently pursuing a double major Sc.B./A.B in applied-mathematic and computer science and economics at Brown university. 

Growing up in the South Africa has been a humbling experience and while I can’t even begin to try and understand the multitude of challeneges the average south african faces on a daily basis I am consistently reminded of these hardships whenever I set foot out my front door – this is something which I believe has helped shape who I am today and never allowed me to take anything for granted. I love people: meeting them, getting to know them and above all learning about their perspectives and opinions. In a world which many try to divide by the differences they percieve in one another I feel as though its that same variety which will ultimatley breed cohesion. While this may seem cliched, growing up in a country with 11 national languages and a multiplicity of different racial and ethnic groups has reassured me that this variety is indeed the spice of life. Given our troubled past and tense climate of race relations I feel as though it is easy for someone to look at a place like south africa as a prime example of how different people can’t get along. While I can’t pretend that racism doesn’t exist or that the lasting legacy of aparthied doesn’t rear its ugly head from time to time I have full confidence in a young vibrant post-apartheid generation of south africans ready to work together in order to solve some of africa’s most pressing challenges. I’ve had some tough conversations about privilledge and whiteness and how my priviledge affects others – these moments have been some of the most valuable of my childhood. Dealing with scandals of racism among teachers at my high school has definitley been a challenege I’ve had to overcome; however, I feel as though these times have really united me and my peers of color and allowed me to take a deep introspective look at myself. As a soon to be 21 year old I feel blessed to have received an amazing education not only in the classroom but also on the streets and in the real world among real people – this would not have been possible had I grown up in any other part of the world.

Choosing to leave home and embark upon this adventure to study in the United States has been a life-changing opportunity. My passion for people has been heavily induldged and I have been so lucky to meet some of the brightest, and most interesting individuals of my generation. While I often feel guilty about deserting my home to start a new life in another country I know deep down that I won’t be gone forever and that this is just a stepping stone in my journey to hopefully one day being able to make a tangible impact in South Africa. That being said, Brown university has provided the most incredible community in which to study. I have found a love for computer science along with pre-existing interests in mathematics and economics and while choosing to pursue a dual major in applied-mathematics and computer science and econmics has been advised as an unnessesary over exploration of too many topics I believe that pressure is a prividlegde and that trying my hardest to push myself when not entirley necessary is a distinct opportunity for personal growth. Playing rugby at Brown given me an umbilical cord to home and has driven home many lessons which I had thought that I had learnt playing competative high south african school rugby. It’s so interesting to see  how a group of individuals from opposite corners of the world can have such similar values and interests purely because they choose to play and love rugby. When I’m not studying or playing rugby I love lifting weights and almost any form of exercise – I base my daily routine heavily around exercise and high quality nutrition and feel as though this really helps productivity on the day to day.  Apart from that I love traveling and creating youtube content. I’m lucky enough to have qualified as a ski instructor and reef conservation scuba diver in the time I had between high school and university and plan on travelling as much as possible in the coming years. Short term I plan on pursuing a career in investment banking or management consulting and am excited at the prospect of earning a first job. 

Given that this book is about rising economies and how young individuals in these nations are planning on contributing to this growth I think it would be remisce of me not to share my thoughts on the matter. As an 18-year-old leaving high school I had major plans for Africa – I was going to be the businessman who was going to save the region and ride off into the sunset. However, as  I get older I have come to realize the naivety of this belief. It’s simply impossible for there to be one finite economic policy or one incredible politician and or business leader who is going to change the region overnight. In my opinion, change is going to take longer than we think and its going to start with education. The plain and simple truth of politics in South Africa is that corruption is rampant and hindering progress. Post-Aparthied South Africa has been defined by some of the worst lootings by government officials seen anywhere on the planet – it has left our economy battered and our civil service demotivated to run the country efficiently. As frustrating as this is for someone who can see the potential of the region I am hopeful change is coming slowly but surely. As a younger vibrant post-apartheid generation begins to trickle into the workforce I am hopeful that we will work together to correct years of racial divide and progress towards a more efficient society generating more opportunity. As to where I fit into this whole mix: I think it would be a bit presumptuous of myself to be able to say for sure. However, what I do know is that I am passionate about Africa and changing the region for good and I’ve met a plethora of young Africans with the same plan. In the short term, I plan on continuing my work in the Soweto township located in Johannesburg where I volunteer at a weightlifting gym that serves as an afterschool program for the kids of the township. The project focuses heavily on education and we provide tutoring to school kids who come from some of the poorest areas of the country. As I’ve said before I’m passionate about education in my country and I plan on using my position of privilege to help educate as many young leaders as possible. I’m so grateful for the all amazing opportunities I’ve been granted in my young adult life and hope that I can stay true to myself and my upbringing as I continue to grow, learn and give back. 

cailin

Cailin Perrie

From: Johannesburg, South Africa

Age: 23 years

Activity: Master of Science in Data Science at UCT (also a part-time Au Pair and Academic Tutor)

When I was six years old, my father decided to take my brother and I on a camping trip for a long weekend. It was mid-July (so it was pretty freezing in Limpopo, South Africa) but the idea of being out in the wild surrounded by giraffes, bushveld bonfires, and eating toasted marshmallows sounded too good to be deterred simply by the negative one degree Celsius mornings. So off we went. In order to get to the camping site we drove through some small remote towns which were rather decrepit. We stopped in one of the towns to fill up with petrol and, being the inquisitive and overly friendly child that I was, I ran up to a boy playing soccer with his friends in the sandy field nearby. After striking up a conversation, I couldn’t help but ask this boy as many questions as I could about his town, his friends, his school and so on. It was at this moment that this 10 year old boy told me that he didn’t go to school, his father worked in the mines and his mum needed help at home looking after his brothers and sisters; so school was not in the cards for him. Before I could ask him anymore questions, my dad bellowed for me to come back to the car so that we could continue on our journey. 

As I sat staring out of the window, I couldn’t believe what the boy had told me. I needed answers. Why was this young boy having to look after his brothers and sisters? Why couldn’t he go to school? Why were the boys playing with a soccer ball fabricated purely from plastic shopping bags? I resorted to my father for answers. It was at this point in my life where I truly began to comprehend the reality of systemic poverty and inequality. I became consumed with anger, sadness, helplessness, and despair – emotions which I didn’t quite know how to deal with at the ripe old age of six. I guess those emotions sparked a flame in me, a deep desire to affect positive change in the world. All my father wanted that weekend was the ability to spend some quality time with my brother and I, but my little six-year-old self was too preoccupied with finding ways to potentially make that little boy’s life, and the life of his friends and family, a little easier. According to my dad, I scribbled ideas on every piece of paper towel we had brought with us on the trip, so much so that I resorted to using a roll of toilet paper as my new ‘solutions notebook’. That weekend, I not only realized the power that preconceived biases can have on ones understanding of the world, but also learned that knowledge can be gained in a myriad of places and not just inside the classroom.

Since then, I have committed to challenge myself to be brave and expose myself to new and unusual situations. I have found that by doing this I am intentionally putting myself in positions which encourage me to be unexpectedly wrong, unusually uncomfortable, and reflectively quite; allowing me the opportunity to broaden my own understanding of the world, how it behaves, and how that influences how I behave. Each one of the committees, societies, sports, drama clubs, and music performances that I took part in challenged me in totally different ways and taught me very different lessons about teamwork, healthy competition, leadership, and perseverance. One lesson, however, was common to all extracurricular’s – the importance of balance. I strive to live my life in this way valuing hard work, integrity, recreation, and paying it forward. 

My university life has been no different. Every committee I have joined and every career option I have pursued have been in line with my dream to affect positive social, environmental, and economic change and do so whilst living a balanced life. I volunteered for the Animal Welfare Society of Stellenbosch (AWSS), played inter-residential Netball, acted as a student embassador for the Stellenbosch University #Move4Food initiative, and took on the role of Chairperson for both Connect Maties and Engineers Without Borders (Stellenbosch chapter), whilst managing the workload of my Industrial Engineering undergraduate degree. I’d be lying if I said that I managed to balance all of these facets of my life with ease. Some weeks were exhausting and there many times I felt I simply could not do myself or others proud, but I perservered. And although I was awarded the Rector’s (Chancellor) Award for Excellence  in Social Impact in 2018, the Rector’s Award for Excellence in Leadership in 2019, and graduated Cum Laude, it is not these accomplishments that I am most proud of. I am proud of the fact that we managed to raise around R1million to assist students at Stellenbosch University who were suffering from food insecurity, walk the dogs and improve the kennel facilities at the AWSS, teach local students in poor communities how to build their own solar-power generators, coordinate an outdoor street performance that raised over R250 000 for Stellenbosch Universitys’ social impact projects, and inspire young South Africans to care about our people, our country, and its preservation. 

My engagement in community-centered student societies and social outreach programs exposed me to disparities in the South African socio-economic systems, with particular focus on the education system. I learnt that South Africa’s education system is depicted by two very different socio-economic communities. The one is characterized by wealth, functionality and effective educating ability, while the other is characterized by poverty, dysfunctionality and an inability to effectively educate and equip students with acceptable numeracy and literacy skills. During my final year of my BEng Industrial Engineering undergraduate degree I embarked on a dissertation that proposed to develop an agent-based simulation model that focuses on the academic progression of grade one to four students in South Africa. The simulation model output aims to assist intervention planning in identifying the effect that certain socio-economic intervention strategies may have on the academic progression of students in the South African education system. 

As I progressed with my project the complexity involved in solving such a problem became increasingly evident. The dismal academic progression of students in the country is not due to a specific, individual or isolated factor, but rather due to a combination of issues inherent in the overall system. This project, and the findings obtained, made me realise that the technical and analytical skills that I have gained during my undergraduate degree are not, on their own, sufficient to tackle these types of problems. These systems require a proficiency in economics, politics, and behavioural science (in other words the social sciences), in addition to an in-depth technical understanding. Attempting to solve a social problem by technical means, without incorporating knowledge of the interacting social systems at play or understanding social theories and their possible effects on the system, will always produce a solution of little to no value. I believe that social theory can be used to answer basic methodological and interpretive questions that technical solutions cannot, and when incorporated into the problem-solving process can only improve the technical solutions obtained. Consequently, by combining the data and social science worlds a plethora of technical systems/solutions that more accurately predict, depict, or model the social systems they aim to improve, will be created. This combination will ensure that these technical solutions truly address some of the world’s most challenging socio-economic and environmental problems. It is with this, that my goals for the future are to complete a Master of Science in Data Science, whilst undertaking courses that focus on Behavioural/Social Science theories, economics, management and leadership. 

In conclusion, living and growing up in South Africa has exposed me to income, education and health care disparities that continue to exacerbate socio-economic inequalities. This has, and continues, to inspire me to make a difference and instilled in me a passion for solving highly complex and stochastic problems, with a particular focus on the socio-economic challenges facing South Africa. Becoming an influencer of change will take dedication and commitment to my own personal growth and development, as well as the courage and humility to engage, challenge, and collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds. I look forward to this new adventure and I am excited about embracing the uncertainties and change that will continuously come my way. 

david

David Rabarijaona

From: Madagascar

Age: 20

Activity: Finance student

My name is David Tahina Rabarijaona. Born on the island of Madagascar. I cannot say I have any specific qualifications yet. One trait that defines me, however, is I would say: the way I set my goals, the way I focus on it, and the way I work towards it. Anything I do in life, I always use the “First Principles Thinking”. That is, start with the basic truths of physics and work from there, instead of referring to deductions and other people’s assumptions. I always like to get my own truth directly from the true truth. In my life, I would like to work as a banker. A banker to help our society become a fully sustainable society. The main thing that drives me is basically how lucky we are to be and to be alive today. The chances for us to be and to be alive are so slim. This is what motivates me to make the best out of this opportunity and learn as much as possible on why we really are here. My journey so far is not pretty simple. Born in Madagascar, studied here till 18, went to college in the US to study Finance for 2 years, back in Madagascar, and right now studying Finance here in Madagascar. I have met a lot of challenges on the way; however, the greatest challenge to me is never forgetting who I am and what I am here for. I think everything in my journey so far helped me become who I am today so I do not have anything in mind that I think hindered me. However, I have been lucky and am really thankful to be born in a stable family, have a roof over my head, have food every day, electricity, running water, internet, the opportunity to go to school and college, and a caring and supporting family. All these have helped me find who I am, remember who I am, and remember my goal. I am proud of my whole journey, achievements and mistakes equally. I am proud to have overcome all obstacles on my journey so far as well as all the lessons I learned from my mistakes. I am really happy to still be alive today and have the opportunity to change the future. All I am working on right now is to make a better future both for me and for the society. I think the future depends on what we do now. If we work to make it better, then it will be better. I think that all things are possible really. Although I am proud and hopeful because of what people like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Mark Zukerburg, and Sundar Pichai are doing for the world; I do not depend on them to make my world better. I work on my side as well with the opportunities given to me to make a better world, because we are in a society and that is how a society becomes better. I am hopeful for the future because of what I do for my future. For me, a better world would be a world where we are able to fully understand and use nature and physics to our advantage. Using it to assure order, survival, and constant development of our society. The ideal world for me would be very peaceful. We will be able to fully explore the universe and the world without any physical obstacles. We would fully know and understand nature and use it both for nature’s good and for our good.

camren

Camryn van den Bergh 

From: Cape Town, South Africa. 

Age: 23 years

Activity: Currently doing my Master’s in Sustainable Development at Stellenbosch University. I have also just managed to secure an internship at the Sustainable Institute. During the afternoons (when I have time), I offer tutoring and au pair services. 

I find myself struggling to think about how best to describe my journey to whoever is reading this. I suppose I’ll start with my education. I have always been incredibly driven and motivated to succeed. Success, as we know, represents something different for everyone. Once upon a time, success, to me, presented itself in the form of an A on my exam papers. After matriculating in the top 48 IEB candidates nationally and achieving 6 distinctions, I was well on my way (in my view) to achieve what I had set out for myself. 

Fast forward to my undergraduate degree (where I studied business administration and management), I felt at loss with what it was that I was trying to gain from this world. I worked tirelessly and kept achieving high marks with the hopes that those marks would fill a growing void of disconnect between what I was studying and fulfillment. 

After a lengthy conversation with someone who had studied Sustainable Development, I found myself googling “sustainability degrees”. It was here where a passion was awakened. I saw South Africa’s dire realities around me and although I was, to a large degree, sheltered from it all—I still felt incredibly angered by the unfairness of the system. I felt that as a white female, I was in a powerful position to obtain these incredible qualifications and I was given all the necessary resources yet the part of me that so desperately wanted change in the world was not being fed the right ingredients to understand how badly I needed to change my perception of success. I was still stuck in the private school education system that guaranteed a stable income and a good degree, but what it didn’t guarantee was fulfillment. 

I began my sustainable development journey in 2019 where I completed my postgraduate diploma (honours equivalent) with cum laude. I completely immersed myself in the turbulent world of sustainability, which is completely devoid of ignorance. Here, they confronted us with South Africa’s reality in terms of poverty, food insecurity, inequality, lack of opportunity and poor education. 

It was here that I received the life-changing shock I needed to step out of the comforts of privilege and listen. I started asking myself a myriad of questions like how do I stop measuring success and growth in terms of money or status? How do I ride the wave of life with all of its unpredictability and chaos? How do I find comfort in the discomfort of reality? How do I show up with empathy, vulnerability, morality and authenticity? And in doing so, how can I show up as truly human?

I started imagining myself as part of a complex system that includes all life forms. I started embracing this idea of balance and harmony with oneself and with the world around them. If I could shift the narrative away from putting so much emphasis on money and success and rather begin to seek connection and growth within others— could start feeling the necessary emotions that help to evoke change in oneself and change in the world thereafter. 

A large part of me feels optimistic that we can see a better future amidst an unpredictable and chaotic world but in that hope—  I believe we can cultivate manifestation. It’s in these moments where honest conversations and realities can surface. It’s here, that I believe, we can start to imagine and dream up alternatives. There is no doubt the current system is simply not working. So if we know this and we can all collectively agree this to be true, then it becomes a matter of questioning the people, systems and ideologies that have sold it to us as undeniable truth. 

There is so much power in a question yet our system tells us that success lies in the answer you scribble on your exam paper. I believe when we can begin to seek truth outside the confines of society’s script, we can start to imagine a world whose values are aligned with morality and fairness. My hope and dream is for more people to question their reality. To question what it means to be human and what it will take to see a real and productive change in the world. My goal is to continue to have these conversations or to present them to crowds of people on a TedX stand one day. I want to inspire and evoke emotion that makes people question their actions and life paths in a way that encourages them to shift direction. To find fulfillment in helping others or advocating for others. This lifetime is not made up solely of you, it involves others— a collective. This means we have a role to play in the ecosystem of life and if we don’t, no one benefits. 

Lastly, a beautiful quote that is reminds me to continue on this sustainable development path—

If not now, then when?

If not me, then who? 

edem

Edem Godwin Kumahor 

From: Ghana

Age: 23 years

Activity: B.A Philosophy.

I am christian raised young man who holds his own beliefs in christianity. I am very hardworking and never gives up on what I set my sights on. I am a very conservative individual yet tolerant of liberal views.

 In two years from now, provided my plans don’t  get derailed, I will hold a degree in bachelor of arts in philosophy and information studies for completing my studies at the undergraduate level from the University of Ghana. 

What defines me as a person is my tenacity, patience, empathy and love for justice.

My ambitions are to make something good and useful with my life to live with the absolute freedom I’ve always desired. My motivation comes from my innate desire to succeed and lead a path of my own.

Coming from a poor nuclear family, I’ve always struggled with my finances. Growing up in a family of six with three siblings, the journey has been really hard considering the fact that my parents never had a stable job with a stable income enough to support us. God has been faithful in our survival. Glory be to his name.

Living in Ghana hinders a lot of one’s personal growth. It takes a lot of efforts to breakthrough. 

I love technology and I love being online. Learning new things , meeting people around the world all at the click of a button is something I find fascinating. Internet services that make these possible are very expensive in my country. This hinders my growth and consistency in doing what I love to do.

Moving on, achievements I would say am proud of is breaking out my shell and stepping forth into the world. I have always been timid, shy and less expressive of my opinions and feelings. Starting university and coming across new people and having to work with them in groups, I’ve been able to overcome these challenges.

Goals I look forward to is finally graduating and getting a good job or scholarship to further my education in forensic  auditing or computer science.

I am very hopeful for the future. So far as I don’t give up I know I can achieve anything I set my mind to.

To make the world a better place, I am going to continue to foster good relationships with all people and be respective and tolerant of their views, beliefs and their sexuality to ensure peace and tolerance wherever I may find myself.

chane

Chane Naude

From: Johannesburg – South Africa

Age: 25 years

Activity: Corporate Affairs Communication Intern

Current study: Master’s Degree – MCom in Business Management

In 1996, I was born in the City of Gold, also known as Johannesburg in South Africa. When I was born my parents were told I would only live for about 24h hours, however, here I am today to share my story.

My life has been filled with many lessons and loved ones. My parents and family have always been like a safe refuge for me, and their support and sacrifices is something I will forever be grateful for. I have learned many lessons and steps of guidance from my family. When things went wrong my mom always reminded me that a bend in the road is not the end of the road. My father on the other hand taught me that you need to bloom where you are planted and make the best out of your current situation as it is not long then this season in your life will pass. Early in life I realised that family isn’t an important thing…they are everything. 

Most people see your glory but they don’t know your story. In primary school, I enjoyed partaking in sport and being active. I discovered that I had a talent for shot-put in grade three when I went for the school try outs and made the team. With some practise and technique it wasn’t long before I started breaking school shot-put records. They say that hard work beats talent, when talent isn’t working hard. My hard work paid off as I had the privilege of representing South Africa in Cape Town a few years ago.

Thereafter, I completed high school and set out with determination and ambition to start laying the foundation for my future career through education. I had the honour and privilege of being the first person in my family to attend university. With this enormous honour came great responsibility to pave the way for my families generations to follow. I completed my Degree in BCom Entrepreneurship and Business Management at the North-West University. Knowing that I needed something extra to give me the competitive edge I needed to get into a well-known organisation. I decided to study another year to complete my Honours Degree in Entrepreneurship and Marketing. 

In South Africa most parents can’t afford to send their children to pursue further education, and although we were in a similar boat my parents sacrificed and bent over backwards to assure that I had that opportunity. I put in many hours in the library to assure that my marks were the best they could be to assure that I could apply for a merit bursaries every year.

While studying I also took on a few part time work opportunities that would provide a form of income. I sold my subject notes, worked as a Lecturers assistant, worked at a second hand book store and even signed up to be a hostel representative assuring that all under my guidance stayed informed and in line with the rules set out for us to life in the post-graduate housing. While taking on this leadership position I learned that leadership is not a title, but an example.

After my Honours degree I wanted to pursue my Master’s Degree, however my parents felt it was time for me to start working and start standing on my own two feet. Little did I know that I would remain unemployed for seven months after graduating with all my subjects being distinctions and being a Golden Key member of the Golden key international honour society with my excellent academic achievements.

Within these months of unemployment, I felt a sense of frustration and of not being experienced and qualified enough although I gave my utmost best to make a success of my studies. Interview after interview, I was told that I didn’t possess enough experience, and instead of giving me the opportunity to prove I had gold in me, my applications were just rejected.

After the seven months, Anglo American Platinum finally saw the potential I had in me and gave me the opportunity to start my career as a Corporate Affairs Communication Intern. I very quickly had to shift my mindset from feeling inexperienced and not good enough to being ready to take my seat at the boardroom table. I knew that this was the moment I have been working and waiting for as looked forward to seeing how my passion and purpose would collide. 

I knew that starting at the bottom of the organisation would be a very humbling experience but I was more than willing to avail myself for the immeasurable knowledge of not only the organisation I am working for but of everything I needed to know in order to not only survive but thrive as a South African female. I know I have so much more potential to be unlocked and therefore strive to constantly improve myself. I would define myself as a hardworking, organized and an adaptable individual. I am not afraid to take on new challenges, find solutions and am eager to empower myself. 

In order to empower myself, I started saving as much money as I could while completing my two year internship and finally decided do my Master’s Degree in Business Management part-time while working to ensure that I can offer the best and most educated version of myself to any organisation that would be willing to invest in me as I know how much I invested in myself. I am daily dedicating my free time to investigate the management of service quality in the fast-food franchise industry in Gauteng. Although it takes time to complete my Thesis, I am always reminded that a river cuts through a rock not because of its power, but because of its persistence.

I still have a long way to go and can’t wait to see what challenges and opportunities await after my internship. I just need to keep on persisting and focus on achieving my goal of becoming the best business woman I can be. 

Here is to onward and upward >^

Elroy Ankelmbom Kimbi Yonghabichia

Elroy Ankelmbom Kimbi Yonghabichia

From: North West Region of Cameroon

Age: 19 years

Activity: Student at the National Higher Polytechnic Institute (NAHPI – School of Engineering) Cameroon

I believe myself to be a person who always gives his best, tries the hardest and does the most in every situation and opportunity I may find myself useful in. Generally, I always find myself trying to be some sort of martyr, being the lone ranger to get everything done perfectly and quickly resolve every problem before it escalates, which is not the best trait to have though. I am Elroy Kanye, a junior software developer and analyst, tech enthusiast, web designer and tutor at my school.

My ambitions…I would love to travel the world (esp China), learn to read and write Spanish, see my family settled and without problems, develop an android with a brain pattern like mine, rule my country and advance it in tech. I am well aware of the fact that all these can probably not be achieved, but I put in my all to get at least my family settled. I am driven by my natural strong will, dreams and ambitions and my mother who frequently calls to make sure I am mentally, spiritually and physically stable.

From my nursery education, it has always been a remark that I have good problem solving, leadership and diplomatic skills. For this reason, I was appointed first-ever nursery school prefect, class prefect from primary 1 through primary 6, assistant prefect through part of my secondary school, and school prefect of education and sanitation for the rest of secondary school and high school till a strike broke out in my country which has been going on for four years now.

    A major challenge has always been the people to lead – a lot of patience is required as people always quickly get the worst about you before filtering out the truth. Very little comprehension is done by most of the people being led on whatever decision or suggestion is made and sessions of thorough explanations have to be done to get it through. To sort my way into solving this, I went in to study the history of Otto Von Bismarck, Napoleone Buonaparte and Leonardo da Vinci, read some articles and watched some videos online on how to truthfully influence and cause mental growth in a population.

Another challenge has the been the ongoing strike in my country which drove me through three schools in my high school education. Adapting to three geographically and economically different environments in one academic takes a toll on a student especially in an examination class but I was able to overcome and come out with one of the best results of my year. The worst parts of moving were falling sick of malaria and going through psychological bullying by students from the schools where I was transferred to telling me I won’t make it in the exams. All that I did to remedy that was to ignore the pains, bullying, depression and anxiety and use that time as an opportunity to freely build my skills in programming, mathematics and physics without the pressure of being having to lead at that time as a prefect or executive.

My country has been a great hindrance to my aspirations more than it has been a help. Although schooling in Cameroon, I would say that I have somehow gone through a mix of American and British education – I did this by getting registered into some courses offered by schools abroad, reading textbooks written by British writers and practice learning how to be a “gentleman”. Also, I have just used the school as a socialising zone and a place to know what I have to go home and learn from online. In my country, a lot of stress is given to a student to complete a syllabus rather than understand and specialize in a particular domain. More attention is given to what a person’s documents say about the person’s self than what exists in the head. For this reason, we find a lot of intellectually poor people occupying positions fit to be held by those who deserve it. What pains me most is not the fact that this is what happens, but the fact that other people in need of a good or service which concerns an intellectually poor person in a high position are set at risk. A pregnant woman lost her life and her child’s once because the doctor did not have any skills in what the title signifies and ignored whatever was told him. This is just a very tiny example of how much I have gone through trying to figure out what to do to fix this.

Achievements I am proud of….I built a mini laser out of scrap and tape in secondary school when I was still very much interested in physics, won programming competitions in high school, I am currently the president of the Computer Engineering Department of my school and the Founder of an academic solutions group called The Box. The achievement I am most proud of is the people I have been able to mentor and tutor in all my schools. It is mostly said, “Elroy always leaves a mark and a hole that I feel like I owe him so much I can not even pay”. I did not mention earlier about the anger issues and fits of rage I used to have: I generally scared everyone with just a look even with the sacrifice and help I offered and that is the one thing about me most people have always been offended by. My experience in high school is surely what straightened and lightened me up, and for that I am thankful. I am proud of how much I have made my parents proud at such a young age and it is my greatest achievement to see a smile on their faces for any action I take.

I dream of a house where my self developed androids are everywhere interacting and learning whatever  I put them into. I dream of a time when I won’t see a child selling on the streets to earn a living. I dream of everyone around me being happy and at peace with very little to worry about. I hope to become the ruler of my country, believing that with my experience, honesty and love for growth, I can make it a better place before the parents of this age leave just to make them sigh in relief that the future is awesome for their children. I hope to be a global influence like Nelson Mandela, I hope to be in and carefully prepare a Utopia in Africa, then visit every part of it.

All dreams and achievements are useless coming from a lazy and careless person. Currently, I am building myself up academically, socially and economically, taking every opportunity I get to show my skill or expose on how much I can offer to anyone or any place, not for the popularity but for the experience with how to work and serve the environment and the people in it. Using my current field, I hope to become an expert developer, start up a company and grow businesses using my domain and use what I can get to develop a place in a small scale and slowly expand – by improving on the conditions of a setting, the surroundings of that setting are slowly affected to improve with that settings and that causes a ripple effect till the improvement goes on a large scale.

I am very happy to have an opportunity like this to express myself and share what I believe may reach out to someone somewhere who can also take the initiative like me to improve on the situation of his/her setting.

enhakkore

Enhakkore Bope

From: South Africa & ethnically Congolese (DRC)

Age: 21 years

Activity: I am doing my Honours in Biokinetics at Wits University.

My name is Enhakkore pron. A/na/ko/re and I am. I am depends on who you are. To my lovely parents, I am their only daughter. I am their youngest child and I am loved. To my university netball team, I was a driven player. I was a socialite and an award-winning player. To my lecturers, I am a detailed learner. I am highly inquisitive. To my brothers and sisters in Christ I am expressive and vulnerable. To strangers I am shy yet to my siblings and friends I have no verbal brakes. Lastly, to ‘My Palm Foundation NPC’, I am the Executive Director and I am driven,decisive and engaged. 

What I have stated is merely a description of who I am but not a definition because I cannot be defined. Definition can sometimess create limitations and I aspire to be limitless within my degrees of spiritual freedom. 

My parents are my biggest drivers to make it in life. They are dedicated, hard working individuals who put their needs last. They have always encouraged me to do better than they ever did whether it be educationally or socially. They have dedicated themselves to ensure that I grew up in better circumstances than they did and always lend a helping hand to others even at the expense of my own wants. They’ve taught me selflessness through action and through the word of God. I am so grateful to have them both in my life. 

I am also grateful to have my siblings in my life. I am the sister of 4 older brothers: Marc, Daniel, Emmanuel and Beraca. Every single one of them have motivated me in one way or another. Marc is a IT brainy who currently works at a well renowned bank. If I were to tell you that when he was born, the doctors said he wouldn’t be able to complete high school – would you believe me? Because it’s true. He made it against all odds but that’s his story to tell. Daniel is the all rounded individual. He is an Engineer and Business man who went to study abroad for his athletic talent and also the Co-Founder and Director of MPF. So basically a brainy jock who gives. Emmanuel is the most persistant and optimistic person I’ve probably ever come across. He is undefinable. He is gifted. An entertainer, sporty, medical student who simultaneously runs 2 of his own businesses. Beraca is musically talented – he learnt to play the piano on his own when he was probably younger than 10. He is sporty and business driven. Writing this down has made me really apprecaite the siblings I have. The motivate me through action and word to do better because they have set the standard so high. 

I’ve lived in Johannesburg, South Africa my whole life. I have been blessed to go to schools that have offered a great standard of education that really allowed me to grow into my own person. I was given extracurricular opportunities to expand my horizon and engage in thought provoking  conversations and learn to respect opposing views. I have however had racial conflicts: whether it may be my hair deemed inappropriate or the notion of a westernized accent being more intellectually perceived. Unfortunately I had fallen victim to such but through promotion of black excellance and acceptance I rose. In turn, it has helped me achieve what I have so far and I do is keep pushing onto the next. 

My goals vary quite a bit: I want to continue to grow as an individual and learn something from every experience whether good or bad. I also want to be able to expand MPF and impact on a greater platform which is why the Directors will be travelling to Congo DR midyear to tackle issues related to vulnerable populations being women and children which include  female econonic indeoendance and child homelessness. My goal in life is to give light and love for the future. 

The future seems so far, yet it is tomorrow. I don’t expect a bright future – which is quite contrary in context. This is because I don’t demand brightness from the future but I give my protion of brightness to it.

 I hope that cumulatively we can all just spread a little love: to our family, neighbors, friends and total strangers. I hope that we bring brightness to the future and we contagiously spread this energy like a virus 🙂 

harambe

Harambe Qondela

From: Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Age: 22 years

Activity: Student, BSc (Honours) Construction Management

I am currently pursuing an honours degree at the University of the Witwatersrand, from which I also obtained a BSc degree in Construction Studies. My character traits include honesty, compassion, outgoing, courageous and that of leadership. What defines me as a person is my ability to interact with people from all walks of life. I am one who believes in the spirit of Ubuntu, that is “I am because you are and you are because I am”. I believe in the spirit of unity (my name actually means unity) and to always show respect to people as you may never know what that person may contribute to your life. My father taught me that respect is not earned, contrary to popular belief, and the older I get, the more I realise the truth in that.

I one day hope to positively impact many lives through the work of my hands. I plan on owning a construction company that will speacialise in sustainable building and will also give back to my community through building homes for the poorest community. I also want to open a youth development centre, in honour of my father. The centre will develop the youth through school and technology and aim to inspire the youth to follow their dreams by exposing them to endless possibilities. I would also like a jazz lounge because I am a lover of music. What motivates me is the love I have for all that I would like to achieve. I definitely believe that where your heart is, there also your treasure will be and so it is important to always guard our hearts and check our intentions at all times. 

Life has not been easy however, God has never left my side. Losing my father in 2020 is the biggest challenge I have ever had to face. Have I overcome that challenge? Honeslty, I do not know yet. Death is inevitable, yet when it happens it is shocking. I am grateful for my mother because she made it easier to bear. She supported my siblings and I and at times, I would support her too. She showed me that is it okay to be weak and that when we are weak, we have family hold us up. Every day is different but we are empowered each day to face whatever may come our way, if only we ask.

One of the biggest challenges that the youth faces in my country right now is the issue of education; tertiary education is expensive. The country has the means of providing free education for the marginalised but corruption is another big problem in my country and iti hinders this from becoming a reality. I was fortunate enough to have attended a high school that pushed us to achieve our goals and supports us not only acaedmically but financially as well. I had the priviledge of attending the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls and it helped developed me into the ambitous young lady that I am today. The teachers we had did their jobs well and encouraged us to be ambitious and get an education, unlike in public schools where you struggle to even get the basic resources. The government is failing the students in public schools. 

One of the achievements I am proud of is completing my degree in record time in one of the most rigorous universities in Africa. My next short-term goal that I am looking forward to is completing my honours and getting employment (another challenge, employment).

Imbahafi Obed

Obed Imbahafi

From: Rwanda 

Age: 21 years

Activity: Student, University of Rwanda  Program : Creative Design  

My first expression option 

My name is Obed Imbahafi from Rwanda, am 21 years old.  

Currently a student of University of Rwanda pursuing a degree in creative design.  

My interests have always evolved around helping my country to move forward economically after  reading and hearing about the issues of the genocide, it has also been my habit to help in knowledge  transfer to the youth and generations to come. I have done my best from nursery school which helped  me to come out as the first one in computer electronics option in 2018 finalizing my high school studies. 

Unlike many other people, though the pandemic presented a whole lot of challenges but it was to me an  advantage. During this period, I had the opportunity to participate in international competitions like  ignite innovation lab and UNECA youth innovation boot-camp on covid19 focused on identifying solutions  to covid-19 pandemic in Africa where I have led a team which worked on contacting tracing  app(https://platform.ubora-biomedical.org/projects/ada63399-5821-4b6c-9574-77f1435614fa). After  the UNECA boot-camp, I emerged with the award of photo prize winner which gained me an  umprecedented opportunity of attending special WIPO summer school on intellectual property and  transfer technology, reaching there I did not take out this course only but I enrolled in other many  courses and I was a speaker on intellectual property at youth innovators bootcamp 2021.  

As an alumni, I have joined a network of like minded people writing on intellectual property management  and transfer technology particularly focusing on helping youth driven start-up companies in Africa and I publish at hubpages and co-founderstown (https://hubpages.com/@obedimbahafi,  https://cofounderstown.com/user/imbahafiobedee0

Besides this, I also contributed to admonishing my fellow youth on how to effectively use the opportunity  covid-19 created especially with the lock down of schools. This articles has been featured in one of the  most popular news paper magazine in Rwanda ; the newtimes rwanda and other foreign media like hubpages, cofounders town and inspire africa for global impacts initiative blog(  

https://www.newtimes.co.rw/node/888382 https://www.weinspireafrica.org/post/my-online experience-in-the-age-of-covid-19 ) 

My solution-driven heart and storytelling skills encouraged me to participate in the ongoing world  neglected tropical diseases storytelling competition. It’s with much enthusiasm to say that I have been  listed among the top ten finalist in text category awaiting the final declaration of winners.  

The future path has already being created with a major focus on developing technology driven  innovations focused on solving Africa’s pressing needs of knowledge deficiencies. This idea came through  inspiration from a previous idea of developing an electronic payment system in Rwanda to reduce the  spread of covid-19 through the physical exchange of money.  

I’m optimistic that the this breed of Africans will shape the course of the continent. For this reason, I will  always use my hand to communicate what I have and always make it a habit to put myself at the edge  with learning new things all the time. 

My second expression option 

Hold on for a moment!  

If you are part of the workshop, please you may go inside and take a seat. Those of you visiting for the  first time, head to the entrance for quick orientation.  

Hello everyone!  

Glad to meet you here! My name is Obed and you are all welcome to the kingdom of Imbahafi. I’m your  tour guide. Kindly follow me as we explore the kingdom of his majesty Imbahafi. I must say he is happy to  have you all here.  

Well, where you are now is the IP consortium. It happens to be the first intellectual property consortium  here. It was established solely to provide support for African youths and Startups in Africa with the  relevant information they need on intellectual property rights. This was established by WIPO in South  Africa as a reward for winning the best photo prize in the 2020 UNECA Youth Design and Innovation  Bootcamp. Since it’s inception it has made great contributions and has been featured on foreign platforms including the newtimes Rwanda and inspire africa for global impacts initiative blog. 

Over here please!……. Quiet… quiet please? 

Those at the back, can you hear me?  

Alright!… You see this structure? 

it’s the kingdom’s only meseum. This is where his majesty stores all his artistic works. If you have time try  and enter to enjoy the beauty of creativity. Currently, there’s not much contribution coming from his  Lordship Imbahafi due to the fact that he is still a student. When you return to the reception, you will  surely see some of his artistic designs over there.  

Question please!  

I see some beautiful community up there, is it part of this kingdom.  

Well! That’s called the land of the promise, it’s home to brilliant facilities and companies. Over there we  have an ultramodern facility being set up to facilitate cashless transaction. It became imperative during  the times of covid-19 where people had to exchange currency physically. One of the basic place of  concern was the public washrooms, market places and shop attendants . This infrastructure was setup to  allow operators and users of such facilities accomplish transactions electronically.  

There are lot to this kingdom especially at the promise land. You can follow his majesty on his various  social media platforms to know more about him, on-going projects and the future of the kingdom of  Imbahafi. There is an opening session at 8:00AM so we can’t go through everything now. We shall  continue in the evening. 

Quick notice: there is a library at the eastern part of the museum, just about a hundred meters away. If  you need to reference anything, it will be of help. You are likely to find a book called the “Rising Stars “ it 

features personalities similar to his majesty. I bet you will love it. There is also an article related to  effective utilization of your time in uncertain times like this and others from his majesty. Find the links  here ( https://hubpages.com/@obedimbahafi https://www.newtimes.co.rw/node/888382  https://cofounderstown.com/user/imbahafiobedee0 https://www.weinspireafrica.org/post/my-online experience-in-the-age-of-covid-19 ) Have a nice day. Any questions or enquiries, don’t forget to contact  on kayirangaobed10@gmail.com 

Thank you. Bye! 

jacques

Jacques Strydom

From: North West, South Africa

Age: 23 years

Activity: Farm foreman, studying data science part time.

My name is Jacques Strydom and I’m 23 years old. I’m a Bcom economics and risk management graduate, TEFL certificate holder and currently studying data science. I’m currently as a foreman on the farm for my father, but this is not a passion of mine and I have dreams to change the world for the better and not just make a living for myself.

I had a vision to be something “big” since I was young and I would do anything and almost give anything up to bring that vision into reality as soon as possible. I’m going to teach English in China starting June 2021. This is to fund my masters in data science as well as to generate an income to start investing. I will be “taxing” myself while in China, meaning I will be investing at least 20% of my income each month and I plan to do this for the rest of my life. I will also broaden my knowledge with trading online and look more into dropshipping as I’ve seen that these are skills that will brighten my future financially.

After I completed my studies in economics and risk management  I have found that I don’t actually know what I’ve learned or what to do with the skills and I have been unemployed in this field for more than a year. I completed my degree January 2020 and in June I started to study data science part time while working on the farm since I did not get employed in the field that I have studied in. I think the biggest challenge I’ve had so far was not being employed in the field that I’ve studied in. We all expect to study and find a good job and settle down. This was also one of my greatest blessings, because of the stress and not working what I thought I wanted to do, new ambitions arose. I started to become a “nerd” and honestly I love it! I don’t think I’ll ever want to settle down, because I came to realise that time passes way faster than we think and there is so much more to achieve but we created this “bubble vision” where we just want a family and be settled and be able to retire one day. 

I started to separate myself from people that just want to live for them and their family, that is also a reason why I want to go to China, to broaden my vision of humanity. This being said, I think it’s good for everyone to leave their “hometown”, because if you really look into it, people that stay in their hometown never grown dramatically financially, spiritually or emotionally. You become what you surround yourself with. If someone talks to me now and say I’m wasting my time going overseas or studying my life away I completely ignore them because I know what I saw was a vision and not a dream. Saying this I don’t have a lot of friends at the moment but it’s better to grow alone than to have people dragging you down or people that keep you from chasing your dreams/visions. 

I don’t have any achievements that I’m proud of yet, so I’m still looking forward to actually  be happy I achieved something. This also excites me, because I know when I’m proud of my achievement someday it will be something big and not just everyday achievements. I think being in SA holds you back in a way because of the tax rates and the government not using any of that money to make the country better. I mean if you look at Eskom, they will never go out of debt and the prices keep rising and that makes people move to solar energy because it’s cheaper in the long run and there will be no such thing as “loadshedding” when you make the move to use solar energy. Money is being stolen in SA through the government and we just accept it as if it’s a joke, like yeah we’re used to it, it’s SA. A dramatic change needs to be made in SA because it’s economy is slowly but surely going the same path as Zimbabwe.

My dream is to one day immigrate to Iceland or Switzerland and work remotely. I am completely inlove with nature and it’s beauty. I want to create an application that will be accesible to everyone to work on and earn money while working on it, yet not needing a degree or anything. They will be able to learn on the application with videos and write an assesment when they feel ready. When they pass they can start working on or through the application. This idea still needs a lot of research on how I will make it a reality but hopefully one day I will make it a reality with the right team. 

I want to make the world a better place by changing attitudes. I don’t want people looking down on other people or crushing their dreams by telling them that it’s impossible. Nelson Mandela has a quote that says “It always seems impossible until it’s done”, to me that’s one of the greatest quotes ever because if we look back, what we thought was impossible became possible. I want to create a foundation to give people that want to grow, the opportunity to grow, to help them financially to make that dream that they have a reality. You will see that they will outwork a lot of people because they never had the opportunity to go to school or college or whatever and thus if the opportunity is given it will not go to waste. The application that I will create one day will be able to make this a reality.

kabuye

Kabuye Andrew Benjamin

From: Kampala, Uganda

Age: 22 years

Activity: Student at Makerere University, Kampala Pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Production Technology and Management  currently in my third year.

Am an African from Uganda currently a student looking forward to achieving an award of a bachelor’s degree come 2022.  Am a jolly person, supportive and loving person I love to look at everyone close to me as not only as a friend but a brother and also love to look at strangers not as strangers but as friends and wake up every day knowing I will make a new friend

 Right, Love, Persistence and being a Go getter define my life.  Am not perfect but I love doing what is right always because some- thing done right does not only positively affect me but also the people around me. I don’t give up on what I want to achieve how tough it goes I keep fighting because I know the success achieved is worth the fight. I always look out for opportunities and try to strive hard to achieve the, even if I lose out like have lost out to many I don’t lose hope I know that tomorrow a better opportunity may come my way

My ambition is to be a person that empowers, inspires and helps others most especially fellow Ugandans  to  discover their potential in life and in society, gain esteem that regardless of  their imperfection they can be  positive change makers in this world

 Currently I help out to the needy people  and talk to my fellow students as well as friends and am really happy have seen many of them transform and also no longer look at only themselves but also mold themselves to live to inspire others

I have had a chance to acquire education unlike many fellow Africans who also attain but most times due to unbearable circumstances fall out. I have acquired knowledge 

My journey so far has been one of many high and lows, financial constraints due to high standards in the country especially at university, loss of self –esteem, peer pressure. To overcome the financial constraints I had to seek for something to do especially during my free time at campus I resorted to helping my fellow students with computer associated activities these yielded me some money, I worked at a processing plant near campus especially during weekends and this also yielded some money.  Like many other youths we tend to be motivated and inspired by fellow youths and so this leads us into many things that may either turn out to addictive or affect our lives health wise, emotionally and psychologically. I also at one time was found in a trap but as a result of the friends I associated with but I was able to realize my stand in society and that helped  me create boundaries which govern me, I associated more with the church other organizations such choirs, this  also made me grow stronger to resist of the temptations. Lack of self-esteem is very common among the youth in my country, but believing in my self is one way I fused to overcome it and I think I can never lose esteem at any other on time

Am proud to be a person that encourages, and supports others and a person onto which other people look up to and believe in. have been a leader at college from my first year and hopefully had a great impact in the sector that I was leading. I look forward to transforming from just a leader but to an inspirational leader at not only to my comrades but to the entire country and have a good impact in inspiring, motivating and also equipping them with knowledge to fellow Africans to know their worth in this world.

Uganda is a country that’s promotes education through sponsorship at all levels and I think this has been one of the factors that have enabled me grow to understand that I have a role to play in my country and has enabled many other youths however education fees especially at tertiary institutions are high, this therefore limits many dreams and we find ourselves settling for education services we can afford to sustain. This has hindered the many dreams that we had at one point in life. Other factors such as unfavorable policies, corruption, high costs of living  and low funds allocated to youths and also divisions of people along tribal ,religious and culture lines is another factor affecting dreams 

My dream is to see Africans and an Africa where people achieve all the primary necessities of life such as education, health. A country where people believe and understand their worth in and role they have to play to promote prosperity among all the people.

I also look forward to joining more great charitable organizations if possible setting up mine such that I can reach out to more people that are marginalized in my country 

Promotion and encouraging the spread of love is the way I think we can make this world small enough for all of us to interact. Love among mankind eradicates all the divisions since all of us can be able to appreciate the beauty we hold regardless of the differences such as color, tribe religion enabling proper interaction. Spreading love is among one of the core values I think we can use to make the world open for all of us to be proud to live in.

kagisho

Kagisho Lekunye  

From: Itsoseng Zone 3, North West South Africa 

Age: 24 years

Activity: Accounting Intern

I am Kagisho Lekunye (24) born and raised in South Africa Free State Thaba Nchu 

Primary School Tshipinare Primary School (2003-2010) I went to High School Moroka  High School (2010-2014) I completed my Grade 12 (Matric) in 2014 with admission to  study bachelor’s degree due to financial exclusions I went to study National Diploma in  Financial Management at Taletso Tvet College graduated in 2018 with distinction in  economics.  

Kindness is what defines me I love helping others to achieve their goals  

∙ Your ambitions, drives and motivations to succeed and grow in life 

Helping others is my ambition, I love motivational speakers they drive me to focus in my goals and  opportunities motivates me. 

∙ The journey you’ve had so far, and challenges that you have met and overcome 

Losing my mother at the age of 6 years was the most painful challenge of my life, my grandmother gave  me uncodtional love that’s how I overcame my challenges. I had peer pressure from my high schools  from rich families and overcame that challenge by focusing more on my studies I studied smart and  outworked them all.  

∙ Factors in your own country/region that have helped or hindered you 

Fasset (Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority) in partnership  with Department of Provincial Treasury manifested Accounting internship for us that helped us a  lot in building our accounting background for better opportunities. 

∙ Achievements you are proud of, next goals you look forward to 

2019 October Achievements 

I applied for Accounting Internship at North West Provincial Treasury and I won the opportunity  Provincial Treasury Achievements  

– Youngest Accounting Intern at South Africa North West Provincial Treasury – Asset Management (Walker) Certificate 

– Disbursement Certificate  

– Introduction To Basic Accounting System (BAS) 

– Breaking Barriers Into Entry  

August 2020 National School of Government eLearning Achievements  

I become the best National School of Government student and passed the following  eLearning course with distinctions. 

– COVID-19 Information Repository 

– Getting started with eLearning 

– Ethics for Internal Auditors 

– Ethics in the Public Service 

– Ethics for Internal Auditors 

GRAP: Statement Of Financial Position 

– GRAP: Statement OF Financial Performance 

– GRAP: Statement Of Changes in Net Assets/Equity 

– GRAP: Annual Financial and Consolidated Reporting  

– GRAP: Other GRAP Standards  

– Introduction to Financial Management and Budgeting 

– Introduction to Leading Change 

– Introduction to Strategic Planning and Management 

– Know and live our Constitution 

– Policy and Procedure on Incapacity Leave and Ill-health Retirement (PILIR) -Writing for Government: Basic Writing Skills 

I also suggested all above mentioned courses to my management and more than 45  employees enrolled for the courses. 

Link to all completed NSG eLearning courses https://www.thensg.gov.za/ 

August 2020 I Became Fasset Brand Ambassador& Career Practitioner

https://www.fasset.org.za/#

Fasset Is (Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority) Brand  Ambassador & Career Practitioner. This year we manifested career guidance for 450 Grade 10- 12 learners nationwide using Social Media; Facebook & WhatsApp and 356 Learners in  contact. Next we will be doing provincial career guidance tour guidance for North West high  & primary schools.  

Link to Fasset Career Guidance information https://www.fasset.org.za/# 

∙ Your outlook for the future, hopes and dreams 

My dream is to own my own toilet rolls factory, accounting firm and career guidance tours  

∙ How you want to make the world (or tiny part around you) a better place 

Manifesting a career guidance tour for schools nationwide will help us help our upcoming  generation to study their passion and market related courses. 

Khanya

Khanya Mamba

From: Cape Town, South Africa

Age: 22 years

Activity: Bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting

I am a South African millennial, a shameless lover of film and iced coffee, and determined to make a meaningful difference in the world someday. 

I am currently completing my final year of Bachelor of Business Science in Finance and Accounting at  the University of Cape Town. I also am the president of the UCT Investment Society and looking to commence operations for the company I have registered, GradAccess (Pty) Ltd – an enterprise that will license technology which facilitates large-scale university  application assistance to NPOs. As an Allan Gray Orbis Foundation candidate fellow and Klaus-Jurgen Bathe scholarship recipient, I spend much of my time refining my ability to lead, conceptualise, and execute solutions to problems for the betterment of this continent.

At present, I am really enjoy strategic management consulting and asset management, but I also  enjoy student-focused community development work. There are so many people who have made valuable contributions towards the success I have enjoyed thus far as a student, and I am eager to pay that forward. This country’s significant diversity of thought and culture and as well as the ample opportunities for personal development and skills acquisition I have found have taught me how to think critically about how to address the social and technological issues that are not only prevalent in South Africa, but globally too. I recognise the importance of using these skills and acting with urgency and resilience in doing so.

I still have so much learning to do before I am sufficiently ready to make my contribution towards bettering this country, and while I am not too certain what that will look like as yet, I am determined to do the work to get there. Despite all the serious issues we are facing in the world at present, we are living during a monumental time in history – technologically, politically, and socially. I am so grateful to be living in this time, and I want to actively participate as much as possible.

malungelo

Malungelo Zondi

From: Ngcongangconga, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

Age: 21 years

Activity: I am currently working at a call centre as a customer service consultant but I also study part time for my honours in Supply chain management.

A STORY OF YOUNG LADY WITH GREAT DREAMS

I am Malungelo Zondi a 21 year old young lady and pioneer from KwaZulu Natal , South Africa. The qualifications I have include a bachelor of commerce degree in Marketing and Supply chain management, and currently I am pursuing an Honours degree in Supply chain management. Beyond my academic life I am very passionate about giving back to society. Although at the moment I do not have financial resources, I make sure I use my skills and talents to serve others. As a result I have a certificate of peer educating students about health and social issues like HIV, Gender based violence and positive living. This initiative is very close to my heart as these issues we educate about are issues that affect all of us South Africans especially the issue of Gender based violence as of late. My entrepreneurial side is more socio-entreprenerial, as I have joined organizations like Enactus UKZN in which we came up with business ideas using whatever that community has in abundance in order to help develop that community. 

Growing up and its challenges in a developing country

Growing up I was always sure that I was going to be something great. I had meaningful conversations with older people. Let me just say, I don’t come from a perfect family, in fact my family is dysfunctional and it was worse when I was still in my early years of school. Although I did not notice much our financial circumstances I did notice however how all the guardians I had were alcohol addicts. It bothered me , but what I have always loved about my family is that they always treated me as an individual with a functional mind and not merely as a child. I am from a small village called Ngcongangconga in the deep outskirts of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. 

Looking at the situation at my own home and the reality of many around me one would swear I would amount to nothing. I mean most young girls do not get to finish their high school education let alone get some tertiary education. The amount of girls that get pregnant in their teen years and later just settle for marriage and up in the village is massive. Not to say I despise their life decisions but I was born for more than that, I was born to have an impact. This is exactly the attitude I took with me till the age I am right now. I started primary school in the school at my village but the 5th grade my parents decided I needed to go to an English speaking school. This they decided was going to increase my chances of having a say in this world since of-course the dominating language is English. So at that school , I had the most amazing teachers who allowed me to explore my talents and reach my greatest capabilities. At Isnembe secondary school is where my leadership and social justice journey began. I remember being elected as the school’s deputy RCL president. This is where I saw that it is possible to do anything just as long as you put it the hard work. 

How the government has empowered my dreams

Being in a developing country has it many challenges especially when you’re in the poor side of the inequality spectrum. As it is South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world and I happened to have been on the poor side. As challenging as that is the government has made initiatives and reach out programmes that make it possible even for the poorest to hold big degrees. I would never have afforded a tertiary education but through the beautiful NSFAS initiative right now I have a degree of which I am first in my family to have. The government did not start there in helping me reach my goals, even as you grow up there is a child support grant that needing parents receive of which I received as well. So I can say in South Africa there are all the available resources to uplift oneself , it is just that some people are not well aware of them and this is why the onus is on me and others to make our communities aware, so that no one says they do not have an education because they do not have the finances. I am honoured to be part of such a beautiful country and I want to make it and even more honourable place by little impact in communities. 

My goals and ambitions

Fast forward to 2021, I am this empowered, motivated and selfless young woman who is making her mark in society. My wish is to someday completely uplift the youth in my community. I do not want to be successful and then leave them behind, instead I want to share my cup of wisdom and knowledge with them so they can be able to uplift their lives. I believe that reading books from an early age instills the culture into a person, and if that person is well read, they will be well knowledgeable. This is why I plan on starting book clubs for the young. For those who can not read yet I want to make my mark by reading stories for them as I love reading out loud. To eradicate the issue of the youth not having a formal education, and therefore staying unemployed, My goal is to create a skills development centre under my NGO called Imbiza yolwazi. This centre will be a knowledge and skills hub , where people will have access to all information they need about career guidance and skills in general. They will be taught skills like hairdressing, make up, welding, sewing, etc, and these will help them be employable and even start their own businesses. 

I have also noticed how in some townships the garbage collection is not up to standard. You most often find piles of rubbish by the roadside, and that bothers me and I want to do something about it. I want to educate the townships about the dangers of global warming and enlighten them about better ways of disposing. Recycling, reusing and reducing may come across as a simple concept however, I feel the need of emphasizing it in my own community. This I will do by hosting small events that have a theme about taking care of the environment, thereafter start a recycling company, and this will help reduce the dump-sites that have been created in every corner of the townships. 

Conclusion

Change and development in my country will not only be instilled by the government or the most powerful individuals. It will be instilled community by community by individuals like me, who not only want success for themselves but for those around them as well. As the South African saying goes‘umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu’ which translates ‘a person is a person through people’ this is my motto for life. I want to change lives for the better and I believe even the smallest impact is impact. And as I mentioned earlier in the text, I was made for more and therefore I will do more. 

martin

Martin Wairimu

From:  Nairobi, Kenya

Age: 26 years

Activity: Just Graduated. Part time online english tutor

Martin Wairimu is the first member of my family to attend university,  which has given him the experience of the value of high quality education. Martin  believes that education is a powerful liberatory tool to induce systemic social change. He thrives on issues related to access to high quality education, advocacy in policy and entrepreneurship. Martin recently graduated at the African Leadership University with a BA (Hons) in Global Challenges. !st class honours.  

Martin  feels privileged to be the first person in my family to attend university. He’s had a challenging journey growing up orphaned at the age of 5 and working through trauma caused by Kenya’s 2007 post election violence that saw his family lose everything. These experiences have shaped him to be passionate about access to quality education. My mission is to promote access to high quality education by advocating for innovative pedagogical practices. He desires to set up an education consultancy firm in education that will work with schools and school  leaders in the region in a bid to promote access to high quality education.  He also dreams to represent Africa in critical matters affecting the youth and education as a diplomat. He desires to work in big organisations like the UN where he can make a bigger impact on issues affecting Africa and the youth.  

Martin is  currently volunteering as a director  of Educational Resources of Project Statecraft .  An Indian based youth think tank that works to improve policy literacy in India.  He advises on matters of pedagogy in  workshop delivery and in return grows his knowledge and skills in pedagogy. He is also a part time  online english instructor for GIST TOEFL Academy, where he improves his skills in teaching and designing an effective learning experience. In Fall 2020 he  completed an internship with Upkey a Chicago based start- up  where he worked with the Global Leadership teams on how best college students can present their professional image.   

During the summer of 2020 he worked with  African Leadership Academy(ALA) as Project Design intern where he co designed and co facilitated  an intensive online teacher training programme training about 35 ALA graduates. Subsequently, the trained graduates embarked on teaching experience to about 300 teenagers in the continent and beyond on short summer courses like entrepreneurship for social change. The programme was so effective that the feedback on the teaching experience was 98% on effectiveness and skills gained. 

Moreover he also worked with the ALU learning team from 2018  to March 2021  in different roles  cued to improving learning delivery at the African Leadership University(ALU) , Rwanda . In the recent past, he worked with Dignitas Kenya, developing the Alumni Association for teachers from community schools in urban settlements in Nairobi who have completed training on world pedagogical approaches and leadership skills. He represented the ALU Rwanda in the Hult Prize Regional competition in Nairobi where his team was 1st runner’s up.

Martin started his career in education as a Teaching Assistant with PACE,(Promoting Access to Community Education ), Kenya at a public school, in the Dandora slums of Nairobi. PACE Kenya is a non profit organisation working to promote access to quality education.  In 2017 he was recognised with a service award for his leadership and commitment, to improving learning at Tom Mboya primary school.

In January 2018, he was nominated as an Unsung leader of the Month ALU, Rwanda. Later on, he was nominated for the Humility Award and Most Likely to win the Nobel Peace prize award.  

In leisure time, Martin enjoys a good deal of Chess, lots of milk and reading fiction and non fiction books. He also enjoys conversation to do with spiritualism, quantum physics and existentialism. I also enjoy writing poems, it’s my love language. 

megan de

Megan de Vasconcellos

From:  South Africa

Age: 19 years

Activity: 1st year BA majoring in English and Psychology

My name is Megan de Vasconcellos, I’m a 19 year old female currently living in beautiful South Africa. In  2020 I completed a higher certificate in business management; in 2021 I will be beginning my BA  (Bachelor of Arts) degree majoring in English and Psychology. I am a great lover of all things books, and I  have a great passion for writing so, naturally, I am ecstatic to begin my degree. 

I consider myself to be an adventurer – I love languages (I am currently learning Swedish), art, history, trying new food, travelling and experiencing different cultures, and so much more. I take great pride in  my independence and my strong-willed nature. 

For as long as I can remember, it has been a dream of mine to live in the U.K. I cannot explain why, I have  never even been there for a holiday, but there is a connection there that I just cannot ignore. I have  made it a goal of mine that within the next few years, after getting my degree, I will move to, work, and  live in England. Another ambition of mine is to, one day, be a successful published author of fiction novels  read and loved by readers all over the world. 

Being successful in life is important to me because I want to be able to give back to my parents who have  given my sister and I so much over the years. I also want to prove to myself that anything is possible and  that I can achieve whatever I put my mind to as well as inspire others that if I can do it then they too can  do the same. I have often felt as though I underestimate myself and that others do too, however, I have  had a major mindset shift and know that I am capable of amazing things, I just need to start! 

Success is not the only thing I want to achieve, I aslo want to be the best possible version of myself,  physically, mentally, and spiritually. Personal growth is something I have been heavily focused on for the  past few months. I have been taking my gym training seriously, eating healthier, focusing a lot more on  my mental health, and learning about what my spiritual path is in this life which has already had many  positive impacts on me. 

However, it has not always been all sunshine and rainbows. 

Two years ago, while in highschool, I was diagnosed with mixed depression and anxiety disorder which  progressively worsened over time to the point where I did not care about anything anymore, I was also  frequently experiencing verbal sexual harrasment during this time (I am grateful nothing serious  occurred, but nonetheless it did affect me). It negatively affected my performance in school and my  relationship with my family had never been worse by the time I graduated from matric. However, I  decided I needed to seek better help and take control of my demons before they took control of me, and  so in October 2020 I was diagnosed with severe depression and borderline personality disorder – I was  not surprised. I have come such a long way and feel almost like a completely different person, the person  I always was and was always meant to be. 

I know some people feel shame in sharing their experiences with mental health, however, I am not  ashamed, and no one else should be either. It is a chapter in my story, not the whole book. 

Despite my struggles with mental health, I was able to push through. I achieved a bursary for my 2020  studies, managed to achieve a total of nine distinctions out of the ten modules I had for my higher  certificate, and I achieved a bursary once again to continue my studies for 2021. My goal for this year is  to achieve distinctions in all of my modules for my first year BA studies. 

Being a South African citizen, the news is more often than not, filled with stories of crime and corruption,  the failing economy and so much negativity in general, and most of us have a negative mindset towards 

the country and its future. Due to this, it was incredibly difficult for me to find some sort of inspiration  and motivation to do anything because I did not see the point in trying since there was no future for me  here anyways. However, once I started dealing with my mental health I realised that I can either let the  future of this country (or lack thereof) hinder me from aspiring to anything or I could let fuel me to work  as hard as I possibly can in order to achieve my goals and take back my future and make it what I want it  to be. 

I now have an optimistic outlook for my future, I know that I am fully capable of creating the life I imagine  in my head every single day. I will achieve my dream of living in England, I will achieve my dream of being  a successful novelist. I will also achieve my dream of helping to make the world (or at least a small part of  it) a better place by being an advocate of mental health, speaking out against gender-based violence,  

domestic abuse, etc. by being the voice for those who can no longer or who are too afraid and unwilling  to speak.

natasha

Natasha Singh

From:  Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Age: 38 years

Activity: Private Banker

I am Natasha Singh a chronological age of 38 years, but I imagine my soul far exceeds this number.  I am currently employed as a Private Banker of high networth clients in one of the big 5 banks in South Africa. I joined the brand 15 years ago and walked through the door as a switchboard operator. When I arrived as a 24 year old I had given myself 2 years to learn all I could then be off. Admittingly loyalty is not something our generation does very well. When I looked back and realised that I was approaching my 10 year anniversary I realised that I had fallen in love with the culture and the values of the brand that I represented. We don’t always get it right and I’m certain this is true of every large organisation as new leader join the business and as the external environments evolve and modernise, 15 years later this is still a brand that I admire and hold dear.

 Prior to this I worked at the local casino after returning home from 13 months in California. I had attended the University of Durban as a Bachelor of Science student with a major in micro biology and psychology, as impressive as this may sound this was not my first choice. After toiling through matric with 2 A’s and an overall B aggregate and every intention of one day being the physiotherapist of an amazing sport team, I learned that the point system at the time for university admission was somewhat skewed and influenced by affirmative action, a term that would play out in every South Africans career at some stage. Needless to say I dropped out of university not being able to endure my life in a lab coat. I decided to find my place whilst seeing a slice of the world. Best. Decision. Of. My. Life! 


Being the eldest of 3 kids to a middle income set of parents that would later divorce, I had the responsibility of living so that my younger brothers would have something to look up to. Very early in my adult journey I realised that I was capable of so much more than the circumstances that faced me. I refused to lay down and be battered by life, that all the challenges in front of me were opportunities for me to grow in my thinking. My goals and ambitions were and is always bigger than my situation allows at first sight. I had seen a quote a while ago “ if your goals don’t scare you, they are not big enough”.  I went on to make a few bad decisions of my own along the way with 2 failed relationships and 2 kids that I have raised on my own for the majority of their lives. Being a single parent and sole provider to my 2 blessings whilst trying to become the best version of myself and claiming my place in the workplace has been no easy feat… nothing worthwhile is easy right!

When I stepped into my institution over 15 years ago I had a clear vision after careful observation of where I wanted to be. I have learned so much in these years on the values and culture of my institution as well as the strength and resiliance that I possessed both personally and professionally. There were those that used my naievity for their benefit and succession (typical corporate sabotage) but there were also those that took a sincere interest in my success. To the latter I am forever grateful. They say that a person holds his wealth almost as high as he holds his chosen God and being the person that a highly successful and wealthy client chooses to turn to for advise on how to achieve further goals or attain further assets is a priveledge that I do not take lightly. I am passionate about what I do and believe that I would like to do this for a while longer. My ultimate end game would be to write and I hope to achieve this in the coming years.

In the corporate environment that exists in South Africa there is not always empathy or opportunity for young, aspirational females on the wrong side of the colour spectrum regardless of qualification or expertise. I am reminded of the quote “a goal is just a dream without action”, to get to where I am currently in my life stage has taken motivation, grit, with the occassional sweat and tears but in retrospect I am all the better for it. I make it an annual ritual to look back at my successes and not so successful endeavours, a personal SWAT analysis of sorts and this year I was filled with an almost peacock sense of pride. Those that know me intimately will know that 2020 was the most trying year of my life ( death and divorce both considered). Covid and the continuing lockdown in South Africa 10 months on has challenged every belief that I had previously lived by. Working from home in a highly demanding role as a Private banker in a time of financial uncertainty and financial collapse for the global economy whilst raising 2 little kids completely alone with the resultant pressure for homeschooling taught me that the only thing certain is change and if we are unyielding in our thoughts and resultant behaviour patterns we are bound to be swept up in the riptide of this life.

I have found the unmeasurable benefit of mental quiet time and living intentionally and purposefully. I have a visual map of what I intend to achieve in my career for the next 12 months, how I intend to spend my spare moments, the kind of parent I wish to be to my kids, the love and care I know that I must extend to myself especially during these days where we are all tested to the nth. I have reignited my love for writing and have found power in the simple art of journaling. Throughout my life writing poetry and random scribblings has served as a form of therapy, escapasim if you will. It would be bombastic to imagine that I will live out these intentions as I see them in my minds eye when staying alive and healthy through this pandemic is not guaranteed. The number of cases and fatalities in SA are raising daily and these numbers echo names to most if not all of us that have lost friends, loved ones and colleagues. It is yet exceedingly important to have intention and purpose with a good dose of flexibility. I have never been a believer of colouring in the lines but I do see the need to have a basic ouline of what I want my picture to look like. 

Being the mother of a 12 year old girl with a strong personality and equally strong tongue, I am tasked with raising her to thrive in her feminity as a strength, to channel her inner fire to face the flames that life may bring because undoubtedly it will come, to rise above the inequality and injustices that is the imperfect human experience.  Raising a 4 year old boy alone since he was 9 months old humbles me with the magnanamous duty I hold in my hands. I have the power to mould this little soul into a man, a gentleman that will respect and adore woman as the paradoxical powerful yet gentle creatures that we are.

Being a woman that escaped the snare of unhealthy narcasictic relationships I hope to use my experience and personal journey to help other woman in my reach to find the courage to liberate themselves into the lives that they were meant to live. To not live by the shackels of the societal judgements and stigma associated with being a single mother or divorced woman. Our country is fraught with gender based violence and it remains a call on my heart to assist where I can in whatever little ways I can. We are the product of our thoughts not our current situations and if I can be an example of how positive affirmations, intentional visualisations for a better life, purposeful actions and utmost gratitude for whatever we have even future gratitude for what is yet to come ,then I have accomplished a part of what I suspect I was put on earth to do.

Even though I may not be involved in the most influential social circles or born to the “right” birth order or even the right place of employment I am determined to leave everyone I touch better, even in the slightest way, than when I found them. If we could each extend kindness, as simple as a smile or compliment to a stranger, can you imagine the butterfly effect in a time when all we have is anxiety and dread clouding us.

Perhaps I’m a dreamer with my head in the clouds, perhaps the ideals I live by are not always realistic or even possible, perhaps having hope and vision is better than none at all. Perhaps a weed in the ground has a better chance of living than a weed that tumbles in the wind.

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Nerissa Govender 

From:  Westville, Durban, SA

Age: 31 years

Activity: Human Resource Officer

My name is Nerissa Govender,  I am a thirty-year-old female from Westville Durban, first and foremost I am so grateful and lucky to have been approached for the opportunity to write a bit about my life and my thoughts. This would be my first time writing but it has always been secretly a passion. I believe in a setback to comeback story and so I am happy to share some of my experiences, My career did not take off immediately, I studied Hr but worked in various unrelated fields until a breakthrough moment two years ago, being able to get back into my desired field I believe I  have been given a second chance to make a difference, I am currently a Human Resource Officer in the Clinical Research environment and studying towards an MBA in Management, I work with a team of diverse and intellectual individuals that inspire and motivate me daily, we also work long hours and face many challenges, which has taught me persistence and resilience, I still have a long way to go but I believe I am in my growth phase of my career and that this is the time to put in the long hours and sacrifices and to soak up knowledge like a sponge, I am a people person and would love to grow into a Management position. In my personal life I have been in two long relationships for the most part of my life,  I did not end up with the person I thought I would spend my life with, I went through all the emotions that come with it, and that has forced me to become independent and explore what truly makes me happy .and so to find balance I like to read, dance, paint and try new experiences.I would encourage others to lead a balanced life, explore new hobbies and new experiences. Given the current economic climate, I think the greatest lesson is for us to practice consciousness and to have an attitude of gratitude for the life we are blessed with, and for the people that we get to share it with.

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Paige Webster 

From:  Durban, South Africa

Age: 25 years

Activity: Intermediate Developer at Psiber

My name is Paige Alyssa Moollen, recently turned Webster. I am 25 years of age and last year I got married to best friend, it was the most wonderful decision of my life. I grew up in Durban, South Africa and when I started high school, my family relocated to Johannesburg. This was the city of dreams – as most people had stated- and indeed it turned out to be exactly that. I first developed an interest in software development and technology when I was in grade 10. I had I.T as one of my chosen subjects and we were creating (what we thought) was the coolest and most forward-thinking applications written in Delphi. When I first discovered the incredible things you can do by creating software, the kinds of basic everyday problems that could be solved with a simple application, I knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. At the time being young, ambitious and very naïve, It didn’t occur to me what kinds of obstacles I would face on my chosen path. In my final year of school I went to an institute for Java Development called Van Zyl and Pritchard. I did an aptitude test to see if my brain functions along the lines of someone who can solve problems logically and swiftly. After what was the longest 5 hours of my life, I was graded and I had passed, much to my disbelief. They offered me a contract to study Java through their institute of learning and all I had to do was ensure that I passed all 3 exams weekly or else the contract becomes null and void. Sounded simple enough until I actually started and realized all the sacrifices I would have to make in the coming months in order to get where I needed to be. I had to sacrifice social time, family time, even sleep time to ensure I studied and worked hard enough to pass well. Throughout my experience at Van Zyl and Pritchard, the reality of trying to find a place as a woman in a male dominated industry hit me punishingly. I had to work twice as hard as the men just to get noticed or to get recognition for all the hard work and hours I was putting in. Men would constantly put me down and degrade my abilities to code because I was a female, a typical “girly girl”. People would tell me “you look like you should be doing hair and nails, not writing code”, however I knew that as long as I keep working hard and pushing towards my goal I will prove to myself and everyone else that I deserve a place in the world, in this kind of environment. Upon completing my studies at Van Zyl and Pritchard I finally entered the real working world, at the young age of 18 years old, while continuing my studies on a part-time basis. Getting real work experience for me was the most exciting feeling I’ve ever experienced. I started a Learnership position at a software house called BBD. I was also doing a diploma in C#, C++ and Objective C through City and Guilds at the time. The work environment really helped me grow and finally practice all the things I had learned, but I came to the realization quickly that in I.T you never really know everything and you always have a lot of learning to do, which is the most thrilling part. I started off on a team developing apps then I moved to another client developing cell network websites. After 2 years, when I started seeking other job opportunities, I faced an entirely different challenge that was quite afresh for me. Growing up mixed race I never really experienced any form of racism especially being “born free” (being born after apartheid years). However, being mixed raced in South Africa means you neither black enough or white enough and with the current BEE act in place in SA, its quite difficult to find a job as a mixed race person. I never imagined I would be turned down solely based on the color of my skin. As the saying goes, “Everything that’s meant for you always finds its way to you”, and it did, I got a new job at a company called MCI. It was a completely unique environment, we were almost completely self managed. You did not have someone telling you what to do the entire day, it was up to you to manage your time and get things done by the expected deadlines. It was also a much smaller company to what I came from which in hindsight presented much more opportunities for me. The heightening in my skillset was incredible, being given so much more responsibilities at work and being thrown into the deep end really teaches you how to swim. During my time at MCI I was also furthering my studies through Unisa on a part time basis and everything I had practiced at work came in handy when it was time to complete assignments and exams. Over the past couple of years I have forgotten what sleep really means because between work and studies I had very little time left for other things, but I do know when to press the pause button and unwind and rejuvenate. I am now an Intermediate Developer at Psiber. Still continuing my studies, still hungry for knowledge, still pushing myself to be a better version of what I was yesterday. My journey hasn’t been easy and its presented a lot of unforeseen obstacles on the way but I’m super proud that I’ve always managed to rise above all that was thrown at me and all the negative voices who told me I couldn’t do it. All the voices who said I wasn’t good enough. All the voices who told me I.T is no space for a woman. All the voices who told me that I’m not black enough or white enough to be employed. I’m grateful for how far I’ve come and for all the support and love I’ve received over some of the most difficult years of my life from family, friends and my darling husband. Never let anybody tell you that because of a certain factor you will never succeed. Every success story is a tale of constant adaption, revision, and change. I hope to inspire woman who are feeling like their dreams are irrelevant because they should choose the path most taken. The price of doing the same old thing is far greater than the price of change. 

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Presley Cornel Apson

From:  Tanzania

Age: 23 years

Activity: I am a senior college student in Minnesota in the United states currently studying Psychology.

I am an Aries star sign. I have worked a facilities job for the past three years. I have freeform locs. It is very difficult to define myself as a person because I think that would come with a lack of humility but what I do know,  is that I strive to be the best person I can be in terms of self-care through physical and mental health and also how I try and treat other people regardless of their ethnic background, socio-economic status, religion and culture. I am proud to say that every day I live out my identity as a Tanzanian.

Your ambitions, drives and motivations to succeed and grow in life

What motivates me to succeed in life is being able to be an influence and inspiration to others not only here in the United states but to my fellow country men in Tanzania. With so much divisiveness around the world due to power dynamics, systems and selfishness; I feel that before I go to my grave I hope I can influence people to strive for global unity and peace since I believe we will be stronger together in doing so as human beings.

The journey you’ve had so far, and challenges that you have met and overcome

My journey so far has been challenging mostly because I have not been back home or seen my family members in four years. Within that time period, I have lost family members and friends either through death or through estranged relationships which has caused me to grow as a man way more quicker then I originally anticipated. I have gone through so many moments of loneliness, depression and self-doubt to the point that I used to question my inner worth a lot. These moments were more intense when people I had a good rapport with or trusted abruptly ended up leaving  with no proper explanation.

Factors in your own country/region that have helped or hindered you

I think the main factor that has hindered me personally in relation to my country is being able to obtain funds for my school fees for my undergrad due to money being so tight and being watched closely when it is taken out of the country. However, there are other factors whereby they have not directly affected me but because they have to do with my country and my people it has left me with a lot of intense thoughts to process on. For instance, we just recently got news that our president has passed away and he was regarded as a very polarizing figure within the country to the point that he caused a lot of divisiveness with his actions. He was a no nonsense type of character especially when it came to foreign influence trying to bully us and he also helped with developing the country in terms of roads and infrastructure however, he was also known for infringing on human rights particularly with free speech, taking the right precautions needed for the covid pandemic as well as not having the necessary people skills that would have helped and not hindered his progress as a president.

Achievements you are proud of, next goals you look forward to

I am proud to say I have a strong mom that has experienced so much trauma and loss but has been a huge source of influence and pillar for me to continue pushing through with life in the midst of a lot of uncertainty. I’m proud to say that I am close to graduating and getting my degree and I am not too sure how my future is going to look like but I am looking forward to hopefully having better days as well as living life and choosing a career path that I will genuinely enjoy.

Your outlook for the future, hopes and dreams

Growing up as a kid, my two biggest dreams were either being able to play soccer professionally at a very high level or being able to do music professionally since I write and I am a rapper. Due to age, achieving my dream of soccer is highly unlikely; however, I hope one day I can get enough exposure, networks and connections in order to have a platform to distribute my music content worldwide.

How you want to make the world (or tiny part around you) a better place

To have a huge influence in achieving-Global Morality and Unity.

To always value the importance of family.

To be a good friend.

To be a success even though there is a lot of subjectivity within that.

To promote better health amongst self and others. 

To emphasize the importance of having mental stability.

To be a source of peace for others and to obtain a piece of mind within this world.

-To help others especially the ones that are hurting. 

-To be motivated and motivate others.

-To be an achiever and to push others to achieve above and beyond more than they could imagine.

-To never fit in to societal standards and never compromise on my integrity. 

-To be loved, known and have some sense of value.

-To be a better person everyday by growing through compassion, empathy and discernment.

-To always write my spoken word pieces and rap music as much as I can in hopes that my content can impact a lot of people around the world.

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Roanné Coetzer

From:  South Africa, Stellenbosch University

Age: 23 years

Activity: MEng program with a focus on Data Science offered by Stellenbosch University.

I am a young South African who aspires to inspire through the act of striving for excellence. This does not apply to academic study or the workplace alone, but the principle is incorporated into every aspect of my life. It applies to personal relationships – forming meaningful connections with people; it applies to menial tasks – approaching them with care and gravity; and it applies to tasks of pivotal consequence – viewing these tasks as opportunities to challenge and prove myself. I have recently graduated my Bachelor of Industrial Engineering degree Cum Laude and was in the top ten of my year group. I plan to further my studies into the field of Data Science, Deep Learning in particular. 

I view myself as extremely creative, an attribute I am proud of. I believe in living a dynamic lifestyle. This includes undertaking activities to better myself and expand my horizons, which often include pursuits outside of my professional field. Art, literature, photography, and theatre are all hobbies I actively pursue. It is important to live a balanced life and I consequently dedicate a substantial amount of my time to these activities. Experiencing new things and moving outside the so-called comfort zone are daunting, but extremely rewarding experiences. I have found this enriches my life and has a positive impact on both my motivation and the quality of my work.

As a young adult entering the vibrant and global economy, I find value in experiencing the world holistically. Travel and literature are pursuits I deem important. Exploring different cultures and world views allows for a deeper understanding into human nature and offers insight into how different nations, races, and religions can collaborate to better the world. Seeing the world and its peoples has the benefit that one starts to see oneself as part of a greater whole and not a single entity. Coming from such a diverse country with different cultures, races, and languages (11 national languages) and being exposed to these differences has opened my eyes on matters of self-importance. We are all equal in our needs. Our dreams, albeit different, are of equal importance. I would like to use my skills to pursue my goals, but I would also like to apply them in such a way that others can pursue theirs, perhaps even aid in their pursuit. 

I am a native Afrikaans speaker and had to adapt to the English language, which is my second language. Communication is important, which is why becoming well-versed in English was a challenge I focused on during high school. I participated in courses to study literature, poetry, and the finer rules of the language. This journey was hard and is still ongoing. I am a firm believer in adapting to one’s environment. I aspire to become a global citizen, which requires well-versed communication in a language vastly different from my own, but I am determined to continue my growth in this department despite stumbling and failing at times.  

I have a deep bond with the beauty of my country. Its nature is diverse and bountiful. I want to strive to protect it in the future. This has led me to concern myself with the ecological and socio-economic problems the world (and my country) faces. In the future I want to use data science to apply the concept of the triple bottom line – people, profit, planet. It is a theoretical concept which fascinates me, and I want to see it fully realized. This means contributing to conservation of the planet’s natural resources through the exploration of alternative energy sources or using the sources we have in a different, more efficient way. It also means bridging the gap between economic growth, technology, and unemployment. Lastly, it requires innovative thinking to ensure corporate success. Encompassing all three in equal measure is something industry aspires to, but I hope to one day improve it. It will require creative problem-solving and active reshaping of the world as we know it, but I am excited to see that future. 

I have come a long way through hard work, dedication, diligence, and a hunger for knowledge that will never be sated. I am motivated to continue exploring the world and its people, to garner more information on emerging technologies, and to bring these concepts closer together. I am positive about the future. I have met many of my peers who are kind-hearted, passionate, and talented beyond measure – who strive to improve the lives of so many around them. I am eager to collaborate with them, to strive for excellence, and to change the world in a way which brings nations closer and preserves the natural world for the following generations.

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Robert Mugabo 

From:  Kigali,Rwanda

Age: 22 years

Activity: Currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship at the African Leadership University. (ALU)

Who you are – qualifications and traits, what defines you as a person

Robert Mugabo is a young Rwandan leader pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship at the African Leadership University. My background has disciplined me as a leader who is driven to solve pressing problems, lead with empathy, and create solutions to complex systemic challenges in my community. 

Your ambitions, drives and motivations to succeed and grow in life

I grew up in a humble family. My father and mother were both refugees but later come back to their country after the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994. After five years, in 1999, I was born. My family is one of the many that was greatly affected by the tragedy that happened in Rwanda. When I was young, I would ask many questions to my parents during the commemoration period in April every year. Yes, they would try to answer me, but still, I would fail to understand how in just 100 days, over one million people were already slaughtered. I grew up in a community where orphans were helped to finish school, a society where Unity was a dreamland due to what had happened. These and many scenarios were everywhere and understandable considering what had occurred in our country. All this has shaped me to think out of the box and positioned me to work with different people, organisations and government institutions to shape the country that I envision to have in future. As a developing nation, Rwanda focuses on the next generation of leaders to sustainably maintain the peace we have today. This is a motivation for me to work hard and bring the change I want in my community. The life I grew up into, the community I saw vs what I wish in the future, motivate me to start owning today. 

The journey you’ve had so far, and challenges that you have met and overcome

As a youth in a developing nation, I share challenges with many. This includes not getting all your needs at the same time you would wish to. Fortunately, in Rwanda, Young people make up a large population segment and this has significantly influenced engagement in different development strategies in recent years.  Some of the pressing challenges like access to quality education are being solved step by step. The government has provided a 4G internet connection in many parts of the country, and this helps me do different courses online to boost my skills in various fields. This has been a game-changer, mostly during Covid19 times, since we were mainly required to stay at home. 

Factors in your own country/region that have helped or hindered you

In my opinion, Rwanda was lucky to have visionary leadership right after the tragedy of 1994. The government put measures to renew unity and reconcile Rwandans. Many policies were put in place to boost the country’s social-political and economic life. For example, today, I am getting 21st-century skills at ALU, a University ranked first in Africa among 50 companies in 2019 and globally at position 39 and was named alongside other global brands like Apple, Dominos, Mozilla, Alibaba Group, Shopify, and Walt Disney. This was possible because the government is providing a safe, conducive environment for such investments. Today I would not be able to afford such a calibre education if it was not in Rwanda due to many factors. This and many more factors have encouraged me to keep dreaming high and believe that the future is brighter. 

Achievements you are proud of, next goals you look forward to

I’m proud that I can defy my community’s norms by serving in different public spaces, non-government organisations as a youth representative. I work with a research Centre called HighLands Centre for Leadership and Development that works with local, regional, and global partners to promote sustainable development, with the focus mainly on the areas of Sustainable Agriculture (SA), Sustainable Environment (SE), Economics of Climate Change Adaptation (ECCA), and Rural Development. All these experiences and many more prepare me to take charge and shape my future. In future, I see myself as an ethical entrepreneurial leader who uses modern human-centred metrics to bring innovative solutions to my community. 

Your outlook for the future, hopes and dreams

I look forward to continuing upskilling and participating in the decision-making process to influence the future I want for myself and the community. As someone who lives in a country that passed through genocide, I can never take peace for granted today. As an entrepreneurial leader, I hope to improve my community’s standards of living, I can see a future where self-reliance of the continent of Africa will be based on its people. Again as an entrepreneurial leader,  I hope to use my skills to support the country’s long-term agendas in boosting sustainable development. 

How you want to make the world (or tiny part around you) a better place

 I’m not too fond of saying Trust me, but Darkness is not a joke. Living in a community where ethnic divisionism has taken a front seat without mentioning the challenges affiliated with Developing regions, it becomes worse. On this note, I use my social media platforms, for example, to advocate Youth Engagement in the Peace and Decision-Making process; I do this because I believe this makes sense more than ever in maintaining sustainable, peaceful communities. From experience, everything starts from having peace. Our dreams and hopes are insignificant if we don’t have safe spaces to innovate and think critically. I want to change the world starting from my community through empowering my Young fellow people to have the possibility to display opinions and share thoughts on participation, accountability, partnerships, and capacity building in the setting of transformative sustainable development agendas that are always in favour of our country’s future development, hence having peaceful, and rebounding communities in the future. 

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Shenisé Pillay

From:  Chatsworth, Durban, South Africa

Age: 25 years

Activity: Senior Audit Trainee at BDO

The best way to tell the story of Shenisé Pillay is to start from the very beginning. I come from a middle income earning family and have always lived in Chatsworth, Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. The area I live in consists of middle to lower income earners and is ridden with crime and drugs. Both my parents have worked very hard to ensure that both my younger brother and I were not short of anything, they believe in the cycle of progress and ensured that they provided a better life for us than they had, and gave us the tools to be able to create a better life for the future generations so the cycle of progress could continue. My parents are people from very different backgrounds but are an amazing combination of different schools of thought. My dad (fitter and turner by trade) being the fun-loving individual and my mum (teacher) the disciplinarian. I am definitely a combination of both. Growing up I had a very balanced childhood, I loved engaging in athletic activities, getting up to mischief with my cousins and friends and always had a deep focus on my education. 

I started off at a public school, where I was a bit of a trouble maker and was performing hopelessly in academics. My parents could not afford to send me to a fancy private school. My parents had applied to a semi private school, The Sathya Sai School, the fees were substantially lower than other private schools. This was because the school embodied service to humanity and ran mainly of donations from devotees of Shri Sathya Sai Baba. I was accepted into the school towards the last two years of my primary school education and stayed on for my secondary years. The experience I had at the school was priceless it had helped ground me spiritually, mentally and physically. Much of who I am today, is as a result of the teachings and practices I had learnt at the school. The school is non-denominational and focuses on the teachings of the 5 human values (peace, love, righteousness, truth and non-violence), every morning stated off with light mediation and the raising of our vibrational frequency.  During my enrolment at the school I did not see the value in their practices and did not appreciate the strict discipline. However now that I reflect on my experience at that school, I realise that those hours that were dedicated towards the teachings of Sai Baba, meditation and pure realisation of the self, have truly fast-tracked and catalysed the self-awareness and fearlessness that I have honed to this day. I have headed numerous outreach programmes, feeding schemes and provided personal hygiene-care hampers to the less fortunate learners; This taught me to always give with an open heart with no expectation of anything in return.  

During the time in my secondary and tertiary education, I manifested everything that I wanted to achieve.  I did lots of research on my future career in grade 9, and it was then that I decided I am going to be a Chartered Accountant.  I set my priorities, although I played various codes of sport for school and at club level, I focussed on my academics, I am a strong believer in setting intention and  practicing visualisation, if you can visualise it,  you can achieve it.  This combined with hard work and perseverance led me to achieving first place in my final year of schooling,  also known as the DUX Award, with eight subject distinctions and an overall 93% aggregate.  

With South Africa recovering from the wounds of Apartheid, the growth prospects for an individual like myself, an Indian female from a middle class home, are limited. My first-hand experience of this was when I was looking for opportunities to study at the University of Capetown, South Africa. I was accepted without even paying my application fee but I was denied multiple bursaries and funding programmes as a result of my skin colour. My achievements at a Secondary Education level were not even considered. The university of Kwa Zulu Natal covered 67% of my first year fees due to my Matric results. I had registered for a BCOM Accounting Degree. My dad had assisted me financially with my university fees. By the second year of university I received 2 Deans Commendations and was given an invitation to join the golden key honour society. After completing my degree , I registered for the Post Graduate Diploma in Accounting, which I had failed on my first attempt, as juggling work and 4 majors was not the easiest of tasks but I did persevere and pass on my second attempt with no supplementary examinations.  During my days at University, I was never stagnant, I made sure that I worked on a part-time basis to always provide for myself and deliver whatever material luxuries that my heart desired (I worked for Lindt as a sales promoter for my full duration at university). Completing this degree opened doors for me to become a Chartered Accountant and Audit Trainee, of which I am currently completing. 

Coming to the end of my articles, I am grateful that I have chosen to work for an internationally recognized medium sized audit firm, as opposed to the big four audit firms. The reason why I chose this route is because I knew the type of clients that my firm deals with. Being exposed to their medium sized clients, I have gotten first-hand experience of truly understanding how a company is properly run from the ground up. Learning standard business practice on the job has allowed me to easily identify risks and breakdown in controls. This has improved my strategic, analytical and business acumen which will be beneficial to the next step of my life – The working world as a professional.

I believe that in order to make big changes in the world, it starts with one step. Being an aspiring business consultant, my aim is to make an impact on businesses who play a role in the growing economies of the world. By enhancing and streamlining the way that these businesses operate, I know that my actions will cause ripples from the micro-economy, to the macro-economy. My goal is to help businesses enhance themselves so that more job opportunities are created, thereby improving the standard of living for many of those who did not have the opportunity to do so before as well as breaking the barriers of social injustice. I have always been an individual who believed that confidence in oneself is the key to success more than natural talent, and that people block their path in life as a result of negative and harmful thoughts. I have always had a knack for uplifting, helping and motivating people. Therefore, my aim is to help as many people as I can to reach and see the true potential that exists within themselves by breaking mental barriers that have hindered their potential in life and helping them gain confidence in themselves.

My definition of success is to be an independent woman, to fend for myself and provide a better life and better opportunities for the generations to come. My goal is to create a nurturing environment for my kids where fulfilling their vocation is at the top of their priority list, over working towards materialistic gain. This is what drives me and motivates me every-day. We find ourselves inundated with old ways of life, kind of like a vicious cycle – get an education, get a job, start a family and work towards our retirement. No focus or emphasis is given on the individual, what the individual really wants to achieve for himself or herself, but rather the so called “duties” that we are forced to fulfil. This is the cycle I want to break and create my own school of thought to impart on those around me. 

People like to mention male dominated industries, but they all are. Being an Indian female from the area that I am from, comes with a lot of misconceptions. When I tell people where I am from, they either stop paying attention to what I am saying or completely ignore me altogether, without even knowing who I am as a person or my background. In South Africa, people tend to be very judgemental, as if only people from rich areas are a force to reckon with. However, I do not translate that energy into negativity as I am very comfortable with the successful person I have become today and the place that I have grown up in.  I am not ashamed of who I am or where I come from, because truthfully, there is absolutely nothing wrong with any place on the planet, but rather the kind of person you have grown to become.

I firmly believe that the most important value in life that one has to stand by, is believing in oneself.  I have always chosen to live my life according to my value system.  It is important to be guided by your own instincts, make mistakes, learn lessons from them and be grateful for what you have rather than what you don’t and give selflessly to others with no expectations.  Trusting in yourself and your knowledge is the most valuable resource that a human can possess. The only motivating factor in anyone’s life, is themselves. What I have learnt over the years is that your mind-set and who you are on the inside, directly translates to what you see and experience on the outside. I always chose to have a positive outlook at all times, not giving a bad situation a chance to breed fear and indecision. Any situation, good or bad, is made up of an opportunity, and I never allow any situation to cloud my judgement or make me feel less confident.  I also value good friendships, because I truly believes no man is an Island, and we need to have the support and care of others, people that celebrate your successes but also people that are not afraid to point out your flaws with only your best interest at heart.

thiasha

Thiasha Naidoo

From:  Durban, KwaZulu- Natal

Age: 24 years

Activity:

Currently a Business Specialist Intern at Old Mutual Wealth (Sandton) 

Master of Commerce (Finance) Student at University of KwaZulu – Natal

My name is Thiasha Naidoo and I am proudly South African of Indian descent. I am currently a business specialist intern at Old Mutual Ltd as well as a Master of Commerce student, specializing in finance at the University of KwaZulu – Natal. I am an intellectually driven, hardworking and goal oriented individual who is passionate about making a change in the corporate environment. I define myself as a person who always gives of my best in every situation that I face and who is always willing to assist other people before myself. 

A key factor that motivates me in life is passion. When an individual is passionate about something or a certain aspect, they automatically acquire the drive and perseverance in order to achieve their dreams. I have a passion for the corporate world and the financial environment therefore my ambition for the foreseeable future is to become a successful CEO in a major corporate firm but my ultimate dream is to work in Wall Street at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). I have a passion for travelling and experiencing the diverse cultures of the world therefore I have a set a personal goal to tour the world. 

Over the years, I have faced many hurdles but what I found to be truly empowering was the mindset I had to overcome these challenges. Whereas others may see hurdles as impenetrable barriers, I see these challenges as obstacles to overcome on my path to success. An individual is only limited by their fear which is fueled by a lack of confidence. A powerful mindset is the key to success. I grew up in a financially constrained home, where the constant turbulent economic conditions in South Africa placed a great strain on our household financially. My parents strived every day to provide the best education for me so that I could expand my horizons and achieve my dreams. My passion for the financial environment grew exponentially every day and this is the key factor that enabled me to pursue my studies in finance. 

I live by the words of Nelson Mandela “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I have various achievements which I am exceptionally proud of namely; my two commerce Degrees achieved thus far, being a mentor for the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in 2019 and achieving a merit certificate for finance during my honours degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. My next goal is pursue my Ph.D in finance after I complete my Master’s degree this year. Furthermore, one of my future is goals for the foreseeable future is to commence the CFA exams and attain my CFA charter. In five years, I hope to be on a career path that will lead to career success with a long-range goal of eventually moving into a CEO position. 

South Africa is viewed by developed countries as a poverty stricken third world country, but I vision a South Africa that is empowered by the younger generation leading to powerful and positive economic changes. South Africa is known for the vast and diverse wildlife, natural resources and beautiful climate. Therefore, I strive to make the world a better place by making myself a better person every day. In the modern world today, everything has become fast paced and progressing at a swift rate. This includes individual’s attitudes towards themselves and the world around them. One can make the world a much better place by changing attitudes and being positive towards every situation faced. By choosing to be happy and helping uplifting other people around, the world in turn becomes a better place to live in, one person at a time.

Khomotso Madiba

From:  South Africa 

Age: 24 years

Activity: Self employed

I’m Khomotso Madiba, from Pretoria Mamelodi, South Africa. I have graduated from the AAA school of advertising with a BA in Marketing & Communications. 

Growing up, I never had a definitive answer of what I’d like to be when asked because I struggled to picture myself a doctor, teacher, lawyer etc, which were the common answers that most kids would give as their future careers. 

However I knew that I am going to become a phenomenal individual & leader in this life that God has granted me with and that’s what I held on to. During my early high school days, I sent an email to a top CEO of an international company to propose an idea. This  was the moment that solidified my entrepreneurial path to me. I’m extremely blessed to be a person who is very resilient and a person who does not operate on fear. These traits have contributed greatly to why I reached where I am today. 

I am constantly motivated by myself, by how far I am willing to go and by my achievements which I never overlook but rather use to continue to drive me to become the person I am designed to be. 

I currently own companies that operate within the energy industry, the pharmaceutical industry and property industry. Having achieved a petroleum license at the age of 23 and being the youngest individual in the South Africa to obtain this license, I initially thought that opportunities would be available to youth owned businesses, however the Pertroleum industry in South Africa is a difficult industry to penetrate due to it being a male and white dominated industry. These barriers are what drive me even more to work harder and to make a difference in opening up the industry & many other industries to accommodate young people and woman, because we are capable of bringing about change & making difficult but necessary decisions which will contribute greatly towards the economy. 

The African economy is quite stagnant & these are the results of having old leaders in government & business who refuse to give the youth and woman the space to lead where they could be taught different methods and implementations that could contribute to the economic growth. 

In a few years time, I am going to build a major city in South Africa which will be an important contributor to our economy. It is time for change and time for South Africa to compete on an international level. I know that I was destined for greatness

I am a giver, and I do believe that creating opportunities for individuals to provide for their families and do the little that I can to people a chance to live out of poverty will be the good that I can contribute to the world. 

Adanu Francis Kwaku

Adanu Francis Kwaku

From:  Greater Accra, Ghana

Age: 20 years

Activity: Student in University the University of Mines and Technology

 I am an optimimistic and ambitious young man who is very serious and committed to every task at hand and in what ever I do and I am very organised.  I am hardworking and very observant. I could listen keenly in a conversation for a long while without uttering a single word to interrupt the speaker. In this way im able to carefully analyse and process the speakers output and see what to do next. I am very enthusiastic, very positive and put much effort and my youthful energy into all the tasks im given. I am also not afraid to take risks because I am a very curious and adventurous person. When I have a feeling I want to do something, I go for it.

    My ambition is to become very Rich and Influential, very skilled an successful in my field of expertise and to be able to create more job opportunities to boost my economy. I want to bring about positive change and cause great impact in the society so the generation after mine would have a much better atmosphere they can appreciate and work very hard to keep going.

    The Journey so far has not been that straight. There has been a lot of bends and curves for me to have gotten to where I am now. Though I wouldn’t say im completey happy or unhappy with my development as a person, I know ive come very far and I also know very well that there is a very long path ahead of me, more challenges to overcome and all those stuffs. Challenges that have come my way have been in various forms, some of which are Financial challenges, Academic, Emotional etc., than may have lead to many failures and setbacks in my life but with the help of my friends and loved ones and the proper guidance of all the Teachers / Lecturers / Religious Leaders etc. that I have met, ive been able to overcome them.  

    For factors in my country, I don’t have much to say. Firstly I would say most of our education systems focus more on the theorethical aspect of things rather than it being practised more. Also the general financial state of the economy is not in  a very stable place which has led to the colapse of many businesses. Because of this it becomes hard sometimes starting a new business/ company.

My main achievements would be the fact that I have been able to get this far in my education gaining the few certificates I have that’s helping me to plan and build my career and to have been able to help and aid some friends who have found it hard beign at the level they are. My goals would be to further my education and to be able to represent a larger organisation and as I stated earlier on to be influential and cause impact in the society.

My outlook for the future is to see positive change and development in my society and to be part of that change. To be able to lead the coming generation into a new era where there are countless opportunities and limitless possibilities. And I hope we would be better, I would be better. And be proud of the future when it comes.

I would want to make it better by creating more job opportunities, Help in making the educational system more productive(By calling for a change in the approach of teaching in some schools). And impacting into the society positive measures to cause change and development.

Thank you.

Jean de Dieu NDAYISABA

Jean de Dieu Ndayisaba

From: Rwanda, Africa 

Age: 24 years

Activity: Research and Business development Associate__ EAP

-Math-chem-Biology at Sonrise High School __Rwanda 

-Completed Bachelor’s degree in Global challenges majoring in Nutrition at African Leadership University(ALU)__ Rwanda

Growing up in a developing country where poverty has always been endured, I was fascinated by how citizens relentlessly invest in daily work regardless of the result. The time I know, we only have one precious and cherishable life, and once it’s gone, it can never be gained. I ought to do something. I aspired to reduce two burdens of malnutrition as a tool to teach people optimal and equity health. I see myself as an entrepreneurial servant leader who is ready to work towards Africa’s future achievements. 

John is a young talented boy whose passion falls in nutrition and projects development in the developing world—born and raised in Rwanda with eight other siblings. He is defined by three words: Integrity, resilience, and growth mindset. 

Everyone has got one or three high points that indicate their personality. I had the privilege to examine myself to have a deep understanding of the person I am and what I want to be. I knew that God/Parents brought me here for a reason, and I want to know it. I often ask myself what on earth I am here for. It wasn’t an accident; there is a purpose I have to fulfill on the ground. I have discovered that the world needs something captivative. We have life because we have food that provides life in the form of energy, protecting us from sickness and nutrients to fight against diseases. Growing up, I encountered so many conditions related to poor nutrition and insufficient clean water. Drinking lake water and eating only carbohydrates food would make me get different diseases quickly as the body lacked some essential nutrients from proteins, vitamins, and fats. After realizing this, in my tertiary education, I gave myself a mission of improving people’s living standards with related poor nutrition among people. This is to reduce a burden I got when I was a kid that still affects me today. I understand that every day, food systems and agricultural practices change every minute. Telling people and showing them how to behave in situations is

what brings happiness inside me. I wanted to become a doctor before, but I realized that my impact with proper nutrition practices would be much more than surgery at the hospital though they are also important. I chose to do nutrition courses to increase my knowledge before I start making awareness of eating well. I have a MEeat app project, where this app helps people choose their food wisely and knowingly food. I want to have this Mobile app expand to African countries as it shows people how eating healthy diets is the best choice over taste and sweet food. I also want to teach people how to make life easier and livable with home gardens and cooking healthy methods. I can not be compared to a tree even though it gives oxygen, but it can not be planted by itself without me. I want to teach people that this world and precious life need to be conserved by maintaining and making oneself a better life. If I can wish to see smiley faces, I work hard to bring that despite unexpected disasters like floods or corona though we still have the wisdom to bring solutions over those catastrophes. Let’s eat well and remember to feed the needy who are hungry as well. As Mother Teresa said, If we can’t feed hundred people, we can just do that for one. We all need food and we need to eat it appropriately to earn a better living.

Tashiana Lutchman

From: Johannesburg, South Africa

Age: 20 years

Activity: Student of Food Technology

Hi readers I’m Tashiana, currently a second year undergraduate student at the University of Johannesburg, studying towards a Diploma in Food Technology.

From a young age I have always had an interest in food, its origins and finding new combinations to tickle my taste buds. As I grew up, many people would tell me that studying a food course would not take me far and that it does not have a great scope, but after plenty of research, I realised that it can. This excited me to my core and I went on to pursue my current studies at UJ where my passion for it only grew further. I am a very hardworking young woman in all aspects of my life. I constantly set goals for myself so I always have something to strive towards. From a young age my parents would always make it clear that education is very important and because they both did not get the opportunities as we do now, it only motivates me more and to always take every opportunity that arises. One of the amazing things we have been given as humans is the unquenchable desire to have dreams, we can look deep within our hearts and dream of bettering our lives and ourselves. But what makes this even more powerful is that we have not only been given the opportunity to dream, but also to pursue and achieve those dreams.

Along this road of pursuing dreams, many challenges may arise. Along with those challenges come mistakes and then lessons. By allowing ourselves to make mistakes, you allow yourself to grow. This was a theory that stuck with me for a very long time throughout my existence. I am very greatful for everything that I have-it may not be much tight now, but it surely is everything that I need. The past years have not always been all sunshine and flowers, and as a student (being portrayed in the manner that most people see it as easy) does not make it any easier. Many problems that young adults face get overlooked because, well, apparently we don’t have problems as we don’t have enough “life experience” and “wisdom” as the older generation do. It became apparent to me when I was going through some rough patches of my own that this is very true and it was very recent when I started telling myself the mantra “wisdom does not always come with age”, and as weird as it may be this mantra got me through many challenges on my own. And I realised that facing and overcoming obstacles by yourself only makes room for self-growth and self-discovery because eventually you have to learn how to swim in the ocean of life!

Growing up in Johannesburg seemed easy when I was just a little girl, but as I grew older I realised how oblivious I really was to the world around me. I realised how expensive things were and how hard it actually was to build a life for yourself- jobs are hard to find and educating yourself comes with a price. I realised the struggle. You had to learn how to adult really quick, which is funny because we think being in school for half our lives we would’ve learned so much-but we didn’t really learn a thing.
All that aside, looking at the journey I have had so far, I have come a long way. I look at all my accomplishments and count all my successes rather than downfalls and considering circumstances and hindering factors I actually do have something to very proud of- me!

Life is one word that has multiple meanings and experiences, it is about existence and how a person defines that existence. For some existence is difficult and harsh, but just as existence is important so is hope-hope is what gives way to survival. This is one way in which life can be summed up in words, but the truth is that words fail to express the meaning and purpose of life. Meaning and purpose however, are hard to find, although experiences are not and these help define and push individuals forward.

I would love to do so much with my life, especially as I am given the opportunity to do so, the opportunity that so many- young and old- have not been given, education. I want to inspire generations and make it known that they can do anything they wish, they can make a big difference with very little. The truth is, everyone is put into the world to contribute and make a difference in our own unique way. You don’t need to start a revolution, you just have to do things with pure intentions.

I have lived a sheltered life and in very recent years realised how corrupt our society actually is. I want to change that, I want to create a world that understands its people and unites nations, a world that is not limited and defined by financial status, race, and background. And most importantly, I want to start initiatives and drives that end hunger. Being in the food field and learning so much about all the hunger stories is very heart-breaking and upon completion of my studies, my goal is to not only better my life and myself, but to try and make a difference in the world around me by using my knowledge and skills and actually doing justice to my years of education. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it! And always remember that, we are not here to fear the future-we are here to shape it, and when challenges come, I hope you remember that anchored within you is the ability to grow and learn and by doing so you will become the best version of yourself!

JORDANE FANNICK NARCISSE BOKPE

Jordane Fannick Narcisse Bokpe

From: Republic of Benin

Age: 29 years

Activity: Mba in Marketing Strategy Student

My name is Jordane Bokpe,a Beninese student currently undertaking an MBA course In Marketing Strategy. I also have a Postgraduate Diploma in International Hotel Management from Les Roches Jin Jiang International Hotel Management College,China and a Graduate Diploma in Management Studies from the Institute of Commercial Management (ICM),UK through  Ghana Christian University College(GhanaCU). Aside from my academic background I have had internship experiences in the Banking and Insurance sector as well as in the Hotel industry in Benin. I consider myself to be a reflective and reserved person,and my main hobbies include reading and listening to podcasts.

I believe the main  challenge faced by human beings nowadays is what I call ‘ The Humane Trichotomy’. That is the idea that we have three lives:the spiritual,the personal and the professional. Unfortunately we lack a major component to keep all three at adequate levels:information. So far I have had an interesting journey. From the classrooms of my secondary school in Cotonou to the subways of Shanghai passing through Ghanaian roads. My home country of Benin had a huge part to play in my development. Its stability provided favorable grounds for my early years. 

I am happy to have not only been able to experience multicultural and multilingual environments,but also to have excelled in them.

My biggest dream is to become financially autonomous through my different investments in Technology and Cryptocurrencies. My biggest contribution to the world according to me are my ‘ Humane Trichotomy ‘ projects:Minaggak,Veritas and Portfolio Inc. They can be found on Facebook,Instagram,Twitter and Tiktok using the following handles:@minaggak,@veritasbj and @conseilsbj

rachael

Rachael Refiloe Lamola

From: South Africa, Gauteng, Tembisa

Age: 26 years

Activity: Currently growing my career in marketing and my reseller business       

I am Rachael Refiloe Lamola , Marketing management graduate , part time Fashion trends reseller, I tend to link myself with this word “VERSATILE” I can quickly adjust and blend in to different situations and departments. In my previous job I worked at different departments and I blended well, from receptionist, data capturing and project admin, call centre agent, quality assurance, debt recovery and I excelled.

I define myself as driven and amitious individual who gives her best and tries her hardest. I just try to be a good person,analyzing situations and doing whats right. Unique, smart, sad, weak, happy, diverse, all the mix of emotions gathered together to make me who I am as a person.

Your ambitions, drives and motivations to succeed and grow in life:

-Being a student means having the desire to achieve something great”-But for me is to do something better and in a different manner.

-My strongest ambition is not dwelling much on my hardships but more on how resilent and strong I was by overcoming hardships and still manage to reach the goals I set fpr myself.

-Living life on purpose is what motivates me everyday, the desire to win in every expect of my life. Making something new,coming up with creative ideas.

-Acquiring new skills.

– Fascinated more about my self development, growth: dwelling more on what to improve on myself, reflecting on myself each day. Creating rewards for myself and also staying true to myself.

-Eliminating my fear by allowing myself be exposed to the fear ,try to be comfortable in it so I can work myself through it in a calm rational manner.

– Have positive dreams and aspiration for myself, I have a desire to improve the lives of people around me.

– I retain a positive sense of future for myself as an individual and citizen of south africa.

Life as an uncertain rollercoaster, it can rob you of growth or development while on the other hand gives you an opportunity to learn from those challenges to become a better version of yourself. With that being said Im one of my parents  Six kids, the first one to get my matric in bachelor excemption with no funding to take me to school had to depend on my dad s salary to attend the college, with two of my siblings also university  whom were also depend on dad’s salary for tuition. The money was not enough for all of us so we had to share, which meant that we shared each month we will choose whom they should pay school fees for and the other two tuition fees fee will be in errors. We continued to change roles, but I didn’t lose any hope. 

Travelling miles to go to college using public trains because taxi faire was too much to pay for. The winter weather going to school without warmer clothes but still pushing because my vision was bigger than my struggle.

Our college had a cafeteriour (tuck shop) called poor boys, it shouldve been called poor girls because that where I would go just to sit and see people eating until someone give me their left overs because home was too far to go with an empty stomach.

My friends completed their degrees on record time and left me behind because my tuition fees were in errors and I couldn’t graduate I kept on pushing till I graduated and made myself proud for pushing against all odds. Like they say “a setback is a setup for a comeback” I passed with distinctions.All the suffering was worth it at the end.

Factors in your own country/region that have helped or hindered you:

-Our socioeconomic challenges, higher rates of poverty, long days, studing hard don’t save one from poverty here in South Africa.

-Our country‘s inequality is getting worse as it struggle to create jobs now graduates who are unemployed make half of population and the list goes on and on ,that gives a student in class shivers as they see no light in the tunnel and they start questioning the importance of studing.

-I have studied and completed my degree ,took time unemployment ended up taking the available job just to make the end meets.

-Poor Educational outcomes is what hinder most of us.

-Youth in South  Africa have higher unemployment rate compared to other age groups,now unemployment rates have increased the fastest for us who have completed high school or University.

-You can only be fortunate enough to obtain employment if assisted by personal contracts or social networks.

-Us students from disadvantage institutions /homes are less to attain employment than our wealthier peers.This has left thousands of youth feeling Hopeless.

-Slow-growing economy, struggle to create opportunities/jobs for us who are looking to break into the labour market.

-I’m more grateful for the Graduate youth programme  offered by the government it has helped me kick start my career path.

Achievements you are proud of, next goals you look forward to  

Personal achievement: Being able to take care of my sick mom, multitasking with work and also be a sister, a mentor to my siblings.

Educational: Completing my degree under difficult circumstances and excelling in all I put my mind to.

Work: completion of BankSeta project, under small amount of time, Conducting interview under small offices with hundreds learners on the line up, working overtime just to get the job done.

Development of my speaking skills, I recognised that are needed to be confident and clear enough when speaking to clients and team.

Mastering weekly presentations.

Most of all Im super proud of earning my Bachelor of commerce in Management Marketing, Even though I considered it as the beginning of my journey,not just the end.

Managing to build my own reseller outlet”FIFI’S FASHION PLUG” its still in process  but im proud of how I can put all I think of to life.

The word proud can be replaced with Lucky when I look at my journey, was lucky enough to receive education, lucky enough to acquire all the knowledge and strength. Not most people get to e lucky like me therefore I’m grateful for all I have and also what God has put in store for me.

Looking forward to not only be a reseller but have a fashion shop of my own so that my customer will not only order the clothes im selling online but also visit my shop.

Being admitted into law school is what im busy cooking in my jar of goals.

Also contributing to the community creating more petition for the opening of local rehabs since our country don’t have enough of those and youth is dying ,because the cant be admitted into the government rehab as they are forever full,It pains me because we losing youth due to the new drug that entered our country and the is nothing much the government is doing with that issue.

Your outlook for the future, hopes and dreams

My hopes and dreams for the future is to be a successful business woman who is hands on. Wanna see my fashion business doing well also looking fo frunchises ,Law degree on my wall. I extremely desire everything to be perfect especially on the business side I want to create jobs so the uneployment rate of my country can drop, I want to be the reason why someone slept with a big smile ,shelter over their heads and a lot of food to munch on.

I need a happy family, a happy family contributes to a successful life, You live life with so much purpose.

Continuing being confident to explore and enture into the world to  work and learn.

Also helping somone else through a difficult situation in life.Giving more than I receive.

The best way of pannining for the future is to make the most  of the present. So I am very open  to whatever opportunities the future may hold.

How you want to make the world (or tiny part around you) a better place

-Respecting other people’s dignity and recognise humanity of the next person, regardless of what the next person is having or not having .Treating everyone as equals no matter how you look at their social stamding.

– Being geneorous ,giving  more than im getting. Generosity will help me feel less helpless about how to make the world a better place.

– Contribute a percentage of my salary and business profit to A charity or orphanage.

– Volunteering to cook and clean or offer a helping hand each month at any charity or orphanage.

-Tutoring disadvantaged kids .

-Constistent in recycling  and reducing the waste we produce by always composing them.

– Donating food parcel and clothes to the needy .

– Partake in doing things that protect the environment globally. Reducing the use of fossil fuels.

-Conservation of energy, turning lights off from the rooms we not using at that time, using energy efficient bulbs.

-Donating feminine hygiene products to the schools for disadvanteged kids who cannot afford them.

-Being kind enough to do something nice fo the next person as often as I can, getting them gifts showing them that im always keeping them in my thoughts.

JOSIE

Josie Gerber

From: South Africa 

Age: 23 years

Activity: Business analyst   

Hi, my name is Josie Gerber, I am a qualified industrial engineer that graduated from Stellenbosch university (not top of the class but made a lot of friends). I am currently working as a business analyst for a start up company that analyses draught beer. You are probably thinking this means drinking and tasting a lot of draught beer however I am involved in the BI reporting side of presenting the data to bars and breweries. Nonetheless I am having  a lot of fun regardless. I’m quite a quirky person, I actively compete on the showjumping ring and have been involved with horses and animals for most of my life. My ambitions in life is to start a company that helps educate people in permaculture and regenerative farming. Currently experimenting by growing my own vegetables to try and cut down on my own personal plastic consumption. It is going extremely well, one gets a lot of satisfaction from growing a vegetable from a seed to a delicious nutritious meal. I truly believe that educating people in this sector will help with rural development by not only supplying them with organically grown food but possible growth in business start ups. I have had an extremely privileged life with a happy family. My dad passed away two years ago and I have had to grow as a person to try engage with professional help to help with the grief process which is a lot harder than what people put it forward as. Especially due to the stigma of seeing a professional is so negative and seen as a weakness rather than a strength. My achievements so far in life would obviously be my degree but more importantly the relationship I still hold with my family. I cherish that more and believe it is the success in life that many people over-look. My hopes for the future are that  more start ups in South Africa are based on helping the unemployed and looking at developing young minds instead of making millions. I want to change the way that food could be sourced and bring back a strong sense of subsistence farming through permaculture to try help both the environment and the social status of majority of the people in my beautiful country. Thanks so     

joel

Joel Naluwairo

From: KAMPALA – UGANDA

Age: 24 years

Activity: Bar Course student at the LAW DEVELOPMENT CENTRE   

My name is Joel Naluwairo, a Ugandan by nationality and a citizen of the world. I was born and raised by two peasant parents in the Eastern District of Jinja in Uganda. I am the second born in a family of five children with two boys and three beautiful and lovely girls. I hold a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Uganda Christian University and currently a candidate for the award of Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Centre in Kampala. My areas of expertise include; asylum and refugee law, forced migration, immigration law, constitutional law, diplomacy and international relations, human rights law, international humanitarian law, and employment law.

I have also undertaken several pieces of training in; Professionalism and ethics, communication and interpersonal skills, security, terrorism, and counterterrorism, entrepreneurship, business processes, forensics, psychological first aid among others.

I am a meticulous, compassionate, ambitious, and self-driven individual and this is what drives me every single day of my life. I am also a self-starter, team builder, and motivator with advanced and superb legal research skills. 

The motivation for why I multi-task and get involved in a lot of things is because I want to make sure that this world is a better place for everyone most especially the young people, the migrants and all the other categories of displaced people and that is because we only have one shot at this, we have one life and life is so short. I began to realize that when you get to a certain age, and you have all of these ideas that can become springboards for so many different avenues and platforms, you begin to say to yourself; imagine my life ended today, they would have said this guy had so much potential and it scares me that we only have one shot at this and that’s why I dive in deep with a lot of these initiatives because I want to get things going, I want to have an impact, I want to create something to be proud of, I want to leave behind a legacy that will make me smile even while in Heaven. My purpose in this life is to have a positive impact on the people I meet daily.

My journey hasn’t been a smooth one and if I said it has been, it would be to betray my conscience. 

Growing up in a very poor family taught me that hard work and thrift are sometimes the only things a person can afford. As a young boy, I did not have the chance of growing up or staying with my parents in the same house. I was born to two peasant parents who couldn’t even afford my nursery school fees but knew the value of education. At a very young age, I was sent to live with my grandmother in Namulesa in the Eastern district of Jinja. Life in Namulesa wasn’t rosy. My grandmother strived every day to make sure that we had a good life. When I started school, she made sure that I was always up early enough for school. She prepared my breakfast, dressed me up and saw me off to school.  However, her time on earth was cut short after she was diagnosed with cancer which eventually claimed her life in 2011. Then life started to make no sense, I asked myself what was the meaning of life if the only person who cared for me had gone to be with the Lord. I asked myself why other children were more privileged to have very rich parents unlike me. That was the most painful moment in my life, but as a man, I had to pick myself up because no amount of tears could bring her back to life. I went through some of the best schools in my country and all the credit goes to my dear beloved auntie, Proscovia Emily Kwagala Naluwairo. 

However, growing up in the village with my grandmother is one of my most treasured memories because she made me the person I am today. I am telling my story so that I can at least inspire you, yes, you, that one person who was about to give up because of growing up in an abusive family, because of growing up in a poor family. You are very great; there is a very big plan for your life. This world is a very harsh place but just like me, you will make it, just believe in yourself and trust in God who can do everything. 

My main career goal is to learn and equip myself with knowledge every day as I impart the same to other people around me. My next goal after my postgraduate diploma is to enroll for an MA in Human Rights, Humanitarian or refugee-related course so that I can further equip myself with all the skills I need to succeed and help refugees attain a good life. I believe that graduate school is an opportunity to innovate, explore and investigate. It’s a chance to collaborate with colleagues across boundaries, to learn at a deeper level, and contribute to the generation of new knowledge that can change the way we think about the world.

I am very optimistic that the future is too bright. I am coming 

benedict

Benedict Kargbo

From: Sierra Leone

Age: 31 years

Activity: myFELS Brand Ambassador, SierraLoaded Senior Content Executive, Musician.   

Benedict A.K. Kargbo who is popularly known as Lil Massive is a multi-award winning online blogger from Sierra Leone who is based in Ghana as a refugee. In December, 2020, he graduated from Regent University college of Science and technology with an honor in Computer Science. Benedict is currently the Senior Content Executive at SierraLoaded and also a Brand Ambassador for FELS (The Flourishing Entrepreneurial Lifestyle).

Benedict was born in Freetown on March 30th, 1990 by Benedict Kargbo (father) and Regina Newlove (mother). In 1996 during the Sierra Leone civil war, Benedict and his mother moved to Ghana where he gained his secondary and tertiary education.

In 2012, first year in the University, Benedict developed an entertainment website he named 232MusicHQ which meant Sierra Leone Music Headquarter. The website was a great success for the Sierra Leone music industry as it massively helped expose top musicians from Sierra Leone until it was rebranded to SierraLoaded in 2021. 

Benedict dropped out of the University in 2016 and returned back to Krisan Refugee Camp where he worked alongside the camp manager in managing the affairs of the refugee camp. In 2018, he taught I.C.T at Mayflower Prep. & J.H.S School until he was reinstated in 2020 to complete his bachelor’s degree in computer science.

Aside working as a Brand Ambassador with myFELS and the Senior Content Executive for SierraLoaded, Benedict is currently working on Albums and hoping to be the MP (Member of Parliament) for his constituency back in Sierra Leone and also to run for the presidency in the future. 

Benedict wishes to study MSc. Ethical Hacking and use all experience including being a refugee for over 24 years to protect, educate and serve the people of Sierra Leone.

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