Impact Stories & Blogs
Our team share their insights and perspectives on the impact our program is having on youth in East and Central Africa.
Papi Sibomana, Rwanda, Cohort 13
I am a visually impaired young leader passionate about community transformation. When I graduated from University of Rwanda with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance in 2014, I was discouraged by multiple attempts made looking for a job in vain. I sent out many applications that I lost count of but never received a single interview invitation. In early 2015, I decided to volunteer with Bright Future Cornerstone (BFC), a social enterprise that provides collaborative education for success in the area of leadership, tech-innovation and entrepreneurship. One of my responsibilities was to instill the culture of peer to peer knowledge exchange as a way of giving back to communities. This was an opportunity to collaborate, interact, and exchange knowledge with my peers in youth friendly centers while serving in my role of a business mentor. In June 2015, I applied to intern with the Ministry of Youth and ICT (MYICT), Kimisagara One Stop Youth Employment and Productive Center as an entrepreneurship trainer. With access to government data, I came to learn of the factual statistics of youth unemployment. I knew that this could be addressed with simple but efficient approaches to entrepreneurship. Having gone through the same, I was aware that unemployment is a big threat to the nation development and growth. I made a decision to play a role to change this situation.
In November 2015, I applied to join Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), with ambition to support youth to become innovators and leaders. As a Start-up facilitator and Business coach, my duties included but were not limited to the creation of new enterprises and strengthening existing ones. This saw generation of employment opportunities and creation of new ventures.
In 2017, I joined the Umbrella of disability organizations Promoting Health and Fighting HIV&AIDS (UPHLS) among Persons with disabilities in Rwanda. UPHLS works in partnership with Education Development Center (EDC) for the implementation of its USAID funded Project Huguka Dukore Akazi Kanoze. This is a 5-year project (2017-2021) that will provide 40,000 vulnerable youth, 36,000 new youth and 4,000 Akazi Kanoze alumni with employability skills by scaling up successfully proven Akazi Kanoze interventions, across 23 districts countrywide. As a Program Trainer, I use a series of inclusive innovations that will invite more youth to participate in Rwanda’s historic transformation, particularly women and youth with disabilities. The project also targets vulnerable youth aged 16-30yrs living below the poverty threshold earning less than $1.75 a day.
YALI RLC EA program through collaborative learning, exposed me to different skills in diverse areas of professional and leadership development. At the Center, I created networks with many cohort participants sharing perspective on youth empowerment and engaging in reflection about my role as a current and future leader. I have worked with a number of alumni on different professional and leadership projects and I have had fun during the social meetings.
The YALI RLC EA experience was an opportunity for me to shape my leadership skills, passion and purpose. To apply my civic engagement theories learnt, I have influenced fellow visually impaired persons in my district Nyarugenge, Rwanda to come together and start an association called Urumuri (Light), to amplify their voice and advocate for their rights in order to actively participate in the community to fight against stigma and tackle poverty through initiation of income generating activities, and as well to build a strong inclusive community. No one should have to suffer because they are visually impaired.