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 Priscilla Ruzibuka, Rwanda (Cohort 11)
By the time I joined the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa for the life-changing leadership training, I was already running a children’s clothing brand Ki-pepeo (the Swahili word for butterfly.). You’d wonder why I chose butterflies; they start as ugly caterpillars that go through lots of life transformation to become beautiful and rare creatures! This is how I saw my business transform the lives of the women I work with and all the others that will join us in the years to come, impacting their lives beautifully and permanently.
The YALI Impact
Several of my peers had been telling me about the YALI RLC EA, so I decided to submit an application. I was selected as a participant in the Business and Entrepreneurship track where I learned how to strengthen my leadership skills, how to build an innovative business, how to think creatively and how to communicate with my customers, investors, and staff. The recent success I have had in pitching for my business can be attributed to the training I had at the Center, where I learned how to develop an effective pitch for my business.
The YALI training helped me shift my focus to use the Ki-pepo brand to transform and empower women in Rwanda by giving them a place to grow, earn and support their families while making kids look fabulous.
I am very passionate about women’s empowerment and creating sustainable employment. I love kids and this is what probably led to what I am doing currently. My greatest achievement to date is putting my long desire to create into action. I dreamt and talked about creating a children’s clothing brand.
I remember the time I was on my way back home to Kigali after the YALI program, I sat next to a potential investor and had the opportunity to tell him about my business. It worked! I landed a second meeting, and I am now working to set up a partnership agreement with the investor, all thanks to the skills I got from YALI.
I recently won the US African Development Foundation $10,000 grant, money I am using to expand my business into an international quality children’s clothing brand with roots in East Africa.
My journey has taught me one thing: It is the role of every young African to build the Africa we want. Reshaping our continent needs collective efforts and this can be done by getting started. Young Africans should step out of our comfort zones and start creating solutions to the everyday challenges that surround us instead of waiting for our leaders and governments to do so. Young Africans can take initiative in reshaping the African legacy by joining forces, working together, forming collaborations across borders, engaging our communities and getting involved as individuals and groups to work with policy makers and governments to build the Africa we want. African youth should dare to dream and put their dreams in motion!