YALI Team on Saturday, 9 November decided to spend their weekend break not really familiarizing with Nairobi city, but understanding TRV Office Plaza, 7th Floor, Suite 7D better. A team of 6 delegates from different countries decided to pay a visit to Oracom Group, a company owned by one of them at the ongoing YALI Cohort 35 Programme, Alphonce Juma.
This team met a team of energetic Kenyan youth that Alphonce works with; a kind of people that seems to enjoy working more than it’s normal. Oracom Group Staff is very interesting in that, getting there, you can’t tell who holds which position. Theirs is more of a family than people who have met from different places for employment purposes.
With such a team, the interaction and networking process came through just naturally. They first made themselves known to the visitors with what roles they play in the company. Then got to a listening period from the YALI team before they engaged in questions, answers and general entrepreneurial exchanges.
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Representing Democratic Republic of Congo- DRC, Israel Baelongandi congratulated Oracom for the accessibility of their company. He was glad that despite using clutches, he got an easy time not only getting to Oracom but also touring the offices, from one department to the other. He however challenged the company to get at least an employee with disability; this way, understanding people with a disability would get to be an easy task to the team members. Eventually, it would be impactful to the whole of Kenya.
Israel shared about a moment he qualified for a job but the employer told it to his face that he couldn’t get it, simply because of his condition. They offered the position to the runners up. The beauty of this story is that Israel refused to get bitter and pity himself but rather decided to employ himself and make a greater impact to the society; him being in YALI can tell you he’s not making a small impact!
Divine Irakoza is an interesting young lady (only 20 year of age) from ‘International.’ Yes, she calls herself Internatonal. Why? Her parents are from Burundi, she was born in Tanzania, at the age of three, they moved to Zambia where she grew up. Later on, she moved to Malawi where she has and is still schooling. Divine works in a refugee camp in Malawi as she studies Law and Social Work – these are two different courses, I know Kenyans might be tempted to think that the Malawian university offers a course titled, Law and Social work.
Divine says all she desires to see is an Africa where refugees are recognized; a continent where a refugee is treated like any other native. The reason she is studying the two courses is to be able to take an active position in fighting for the rights of the refugees. In Malawi for example (which could be the case in any other part of Africa), refugees are not permitted to work (employment) regardless of their education level and qualification. This ‘International’ lady would want to see that change.
Yidnekachew Fikadu is Ethiopian working with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). This Saturday meet-up gave a lot of enlightenment to everyone, listening to Divine, then Yidne ‘whose work is refugees’ just to say. He encouraged Divine and all present that it doesn’t take a group to bring change. It starts at an individual’s personal decision to see the need and to do what they feel they can be able to do. The influence grows and the impact is felt where it’s needed.
Yidne also is passionate about seeing the lives of Orphans back in Ethiopia get better. Using some savings from his monthly pay plus some support from well-wishers, he’s started a schooling programme for them. This is still at the start, but so far he has been able to put to school a couple of orphans. Donations would take this dream many miles ahead as to build classrooms for these kids, provide them with a meal at school and get more and more of them into the program.
From our immediate neighbor, Uganda, Oracom had Omara Ronnie. This media guy specializes in Digital Content. Ronnie realized that he was only working for about 4 hours at the media house and then had the rest of the day for things like, catching up with buddies, refreshing with two or more drinks among other leisure activities. Ronnie decide to put all this hours into some better use; he started an NGO empowering the youth (teenagers/adolescents) on sexual and reproductive health.
Ronnie works with both girls and boys- he understands that either of the two has been segregated in the past only accelerating the fight for gender equality. He longs to see a young people who understand themselves even as they grow up. A generation that doesn’t ‘learn from experience’ which in most cases is painful, for instance, with issues such as teenage pregnancies.
To call John Thuch an ambitious entrepreneur would be for sure an understatement. This young South Sudan is way more than that. John has over a hundred employees at the moment. Business ideas seem to spring up out of him just smoothly and he does not restrict them.
John has a security firm that has found a niche in both corporates and small companies. Besides business, he sees this is a great opportunity to empower the youth in South Sudan. His ambition is to make an impact to the larger society through the enabling of the youth. He is doing it well and is not stopping there! You can borrow a leaf from this humble African at the RLCEA, Kenyatta University before YALI ends.
Probably you are wondering why no Kenyan came to Oracom for such a noble course… Simon Kinyanjui was there. Simon is working with an NGO whose aim is to reach to the ‘deepest of Kenya’ and give the people there an ‘upper feel .’ Speaking to the Oracom and YALI team, this young Kenyan made clear the picture of a life in some parts of Kenya, for instance Samburu; where he’s currently operating from.
We know his second name to speak business before any other phrase, but Simon is different. His passion and goal is to change a life. This he does through ensuring that the girls in remote parts of Kenya are not missing schools during their monthly periods.
Simon gave a scenario whereby taking a sanitary towel to such a girl may be just a step of a longer journey. Some of these Kenyans have never seen such a thing (sanitary towel) and hence giving it to them would just be ridiculous. It calls for Simon and his team to go ahead and show them how they are to use the towels. It was a big challenge to ‘Nairobi Kenyans’ at Oracom; they learnt of the real Kenya and were challenged to step out of their way and do something for that Kenyan who might not pay them back anytime in this life.
Below is the story in a video:
YALI team gave Oracom Group staff at least 3 hours of learning ‘outside classroom’ as they also learnt from them. Such are moments to be cherished. Reading this, I hope you too will pick a lesson or two and more so, a challenge to do something and make an impact in your country as we all seek to have a better and wholly empowered continent. Africa is home, we can only give it all.