Impact Stories & Blogs
Our team share their insights and perspectives on the impact our program is having on youth in East and Central Africa.
By Abdu Adiel Mwimi, ‘Mr. Forward’ (Tanzania, Cohort 8)
When I walked through the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa doors, I was working with Miracle Corners Tanzania as a country director, and was the founder and manager of The Way Forward Foundation. I was also a part-time farmer growing vegetables on a small farm in Arusha, Tanzania. Besides all this, I had a passion for fashion, but it was limited to my choice of style.
While going through the first three weeks of the leadership program, my colleagues were in awe of my sense of fashion, and I slowly begun to toy with the idea of going into fashion design. By the time we were heading back home for the virtual learning component of the program, I was armed with many orders to make outfits and deliver them when we returned to Nairobi for the final capstone week.
And just like that, I turned my passion into a thriving business. Going through the program ignited a fire in me and awakened my inner potential. After the first three weeks of the program, I used the orders I had from my fellow participants to start a fashion design business. When I made the deliveries of the finished products, they were an instant hit and I was being bombarded with more orders. I am now the proud founder and designer of ‘The4ward’ clothing line, which is growing remarkably fast and becoming a known brand in Arusha, Tanzania. You can catch a glimpse of what we are doing on our Instagram page @the4ward.
Going through the leadership program gave me the confidence to pursue and realize my dreams. I became a different person, more focused on taking actions, and brave enough to take risks. The lessons from the Center helped me expand my farming business, I moved from the greenhouse into the open field increasing my yields.
Beyond managing my two businesses (Forward Clothing - a designing and tailoring business - and Forward Farming - a smart agriculture), I am giving back to my community through mentorship. I work with secondary school students and out-of-school youth in Arusha, empowering them with leadership and entrepreneurship skills. I am keen to share the knowledge and experiences I got from the Center with other young people through my foundation. You can learn more about this initiative by visiting our Facebook page @The Way Forward Foundation.
The experience at the Center set my passion on fire, and nothing will slow me down. My vision is to open a tailoring school where I will train young girls from vulnerable backgrounds and upon graduation give them access to loans to support them to buy sewing machines.