Mastercard Foundation has been generous to me; it’s time to give back

By Joshua Ayiri Bayahkebe

Becoming an entrepreneur and a job creator has always been a childhood dream.

In the quest to achieve this dream, I had to acquire a certain skill set. That’s why I applied to the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s Young African Entrepreneur programme, which aims to champion youth entrepreneurship across Africa by giving them the technical and financial support needed to start, operate and sustain a business.

I successfully got into the programme and undertook online mentorship classes and sessions with renowned entrepreneurs including Tony Elumelu and Bill Gates.

I also applied for the Millennium Fellowship, which is organized by the United Nations Academic Impact and the Millennium Campus Network and I was accepted into the programme. The fellowship is a semester-long leadership development programme held at various campuses across the world. It is an initiative that aligns institutions of higher education with the United Nations in supporting and contributing to the realization of United Nations goals and mandates, including the promotion and protection of human rights, access to education, sustainability and conflict resolution. Through this fellowship, individual students from various campuses are encouraged to work on one or two of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I am working on SDG4, which aims to increase access to Quality Education. I have come up with a project that I named “Keep them in school”. This is a project aimed at supporting primary school children who are willing to go to school but cannot afford the basic requirements to stay in school. The initiative is a result of the three core values of the Millennium fellowship which are; empathy, humility and inclusion. As a young man who has been given the opportunity to study by The MasterCard Foundation through RUFORUM, I feel obligated to do the same for other equally disadvantaged children.

To achieve this, I am currently supporting two primary school going children by providing all their school requirements. I plan to extend this support to as many children as possible.

Concerning sustainability, I am putting human and financial resources together to support the families of the children so that they keep the children in school. I was also inspired by Nigerian tailor Yomi Casual, who has taken Nigerian fashion to another level.

After the COVID-19 lockdown was eased, I decided to enrol to a tailoring school, to add to the skills I have.

I have been learning for six weeks now and I can make shirts of different designs especially the Nigerian designs because it is highly demanded. Through the skills I have received from the training, I have been able to collaborate with the outlet where I am receiving my training from; I will get customers for them in return for a commission.

My measuring tape is always in my bag. I also plan to start bringing into Uganda some Nigerian fabrics because they are on high demand. I appreciate the MasterCard Foundation and RUFORUM for giving me the opportunity and support to showcase my skills and fulfil my dreams. All the support I am giving to others is as a result of the monthly upkeep I receive from RUFORUM.

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