The Power of Being Me
“Girls have the power to do countless things in the world.”
Lupakisyo Ferdnand Kabulunge, Kisa Alumna ‘18
In February, 2018, we introduced you to a Year Two Kisa Scholar named Lupakisyo who attended Mkuu Secondary School. Lupakisyo, who goes by Lupa, was a stand-out Scholar and natural entrepreneur with her project to earn money by recruiting fellow classmates to make and sell bracelets. Perhaps you wonder what becomes of Kisa Scholars, especially those whose stories we share in our blogs. Lupa’s Mentor, Verynice Kirumu has stayed in touch with her post-graduation and fills us in on her next chapter!
Lupa is now a first-year student at the Mtwara Branch of Saint Augustine University. It is not a surprise that she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration and that she continues to be passionate about entrepreneurship. She calls herself and up and coming entrepreneur because that is how she sees herself and what she wants to become in the future.
“Being the first-born girl in my family, which has two boys and two girls, I believe that not everything needs to be done for you. It reaches a point that you have to go and do it for yourself. I experienced tough times in my school life where my parents were not able to support me financially. My mom did not even want me to go to school at all since she did not understand the importance of sending girls to school. She believed only boys have the right to go to school and girls were supposed to stay home and do home chores and get married. It was not easy, but I am so thankful for the Kisa Project because it enlightened me to my potential and how I can apply my knowledge and skills to improve my future life.
I learned about entrepreneurship when I was a Kisa Scholar and came up with the idea of making and selling bracelets. I got permission from AfricAid to sell bracelets at Career Day in 2017 and I made a profit of 53,000 Tsh ($23). I never expected that I could make such an amount of money! Attending Career Day enabled me to meet with different people who inspired me to use my skills and talents in expanding my business. (One of those people was Kisa Alumna and entrepreneur, Stumai Simba, who started a business while still in university and now has several enterprises.) From that day, I decided to keep on developing my talent in order to become a successful entrepreneur.
Through Kisa, I learned how to prepare a business plan. At the beginning, I did not know how to organize my business, but with the help of our Mentors, Madames Mary and Verynice, I now know how to run my business in a professional way. Kisa also prepared me well for university. Not every university student can stand in front of many students and present, but I am able to do it! Kisa gave us confidence and a lot of practice making presentations.”
With her first profits in hand, Lupa was motivated by her success at Career Day to organize other students at her school to form an entrepreneurship group at Mkuu. There were about 25 members, 17 of which were fellow Kisa Scholars, and including some young men. This is the story we told in the first blog about Lupa.
Beyond Bracelets – Lupakisyo’s Next Chapter
Participating in Kisa Classes and hearing the inspirational speakers at Career Day also impressed upon Lupa the importance of giving back to society. Since graduation, she has many “irons in the fire” in addition to her university studies. She has become a role model to other young people in several ways:
- She formed a second entrepreneurship group in her home community of Katanini Magezera near Moshi with 24 young people. They called themselves VIKASA – Vijana Katanini Sasa, which means Youth Katanini Now. Their project involves making bar soap and batiks, which enables them to earn income and gain some independence.
- She tutors secondary school students in physics, chemistry and mathematics.
- She mentors girls in the area of Mtwara near her university, most of whom are facing the pressure of early marriage. She applies the knowledge gained from Kisa lessons, specifically the Health Symposium to educate these girls about the effects of early marriage and inspires them with her own life story. Lupa tells them it is possible to use their talents to earn and income and go to school. She represents what is possible!
- “One of my goals for the coming year is to expand my business and establish a bakery in my community. I believe that through this business, I will be able to impact more people in the community that I live in.”
How does Lupa manage to juggle all these activities, while being a full-time university student?
“As a girl, handling many tasks is sometimes challenging, but in Kisa I learned how to prioritize and schedule my timetable. My college classes are from 3:00 to 8:45pm. I use the morning hours for my tutoring work and after class I deal with my business. The school where I volunteer is just a few minutes walk from the university. During exam sessions, I take time off from my volunteer work.”
And how about Lupa’s mom? Remember, she did not initially support her daughter going to secondary school at all, never mind university.
“Now my mom sees that I am at university, she has changed. She is proud of me and supports me more than she used to in the past. She is even cheering for my younger brother and sister to study hard and become like who I am now. I can sometimes send her some money to support family needs as well as school fees for my brother and sister. I am proud that I went through tough times in life so that I could learn to be the person I dreamed about.
When I pass by people who know me, they call me “Madam.” This makes me feel noble and that I am inspiring young girls and others in my community to become even more than who I am now. There is power in being me!”