By Fongwa Vanessa Ngwi
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” These are the words that my mother often told me as I was growing up. Although it didn’t make sense to me at the time, over the years I have come to appreciate them-and also live by the same principles. And despite facing several hardships and challenges through my education journey, these obstacles have also helped inspire me into doing the kind of things that I do now.
That is why when my sister participated in a modelling competition, I was immediately triggered to start my own fashion business. It is also at that point that I knew I had the talent in designing. But this dream was not realised until I became a scholar under the Mastercard Foundation. With savings from my monthly stipend, I was able to start Papillon Clothings. To help run the business, my team consists of my elder sister who is actively involved in the day-to-day operations back home in Cameroon. Our products include “papillon T-shirts, hoodies and pullovers”. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed business in recent months, we are looking for opportunities to expand our customer base beyond Cameroon. I also hope to leverage on my presence as a student in Uganda to expand our customer base by opening a branch of the business here.
Besides starting a clothing line, I have also used my time during the long home break to enrol for a three-month course at a fashion academy in Gulu. At the end of the course, I hope to have acquired more skills in entrepreneurship in the clothing industry. I also plan to extend this knowledge to young vulnerable girls back home in Cameroon. This will be my way of giving back to the community. But all this would not have been possible without the financial support I have received from the Mastercard Foundation through RUFORUM.