A Lesson Learned

When I first came to Nakuru I wasn’t sure what to expect but having lived in Kenya I knew I would be fine. In the first week we started with training which was intensive but very informative .The following weeks we met with business minded youth groups who were eager to learn. While working with the young people in Kenya I learnt a lot. I noticed that most of the people were graduates who were jobless and had joined this program with an aim of starting or growing their businesses. Apparently in Kenya, studies show that 60% of young people under the age 30 are unemployed. These figures were shocking to me and made me realise how lucky people are in the part of the world where I live.

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While working with different people in this programme I have learnt to be thankful for the small things in life I take for granted. I have also learnt to take one day at a time. Having volunteered to work with young people in the UK and Kenya I realised there were so many differences as there were similarities .The main difference that stand out for me was that there is no welfare state in Kenya and so there is no one on Jobseekers allowance despite the huge unemployment level so people struggle for basic needs unlike in the UK. I therefore think this is where Balloon Kenya comes in and fills the gap by helping young entrepreneurs by funding their new business ideas or their existing businesses.

The groups I was working with were very friendly and received the information positively. However, it was challenging when we introduced the (B.M.C) Business Model Canvas. When we asked what people thought was the most important thing in a business, most people said ‘money’ but later understood the customer in more situations than not was more important. I remember when we introduced the Marshmallow Challenge and the groups were having fun, but none in my group tested their marshmallow on their construction. When we explained later how important it was to test ideas with the customer, they quickly grasped the concept.

Visiting various people and testing their businesses ideas was not just rewarding but made me think how innovative people can be but in most cases were mostly limited by the lack of resources. There were so many opportunities that were turned to business ideas.

I enjoy working with my Balloon Kenya fellows Nancy and Nga. We support each other and work together as a team and after long days I return to the hotel where I meet my lovely room mates Krishna and Anna.

Working with Balloon Kenya has helped me boost my confidence and has helped me realise that working with people in the community is what I want to do after I graduate. I am really grateful for the opportunity to work in Nakuru and I hope that with my skills and knowledge that I have acquired in my course and from the business training from Balloon Kenya, I have been able to make a positive impact to the young people I worked with in Nakuru.

I would definitely work with Balloon Kenya again if I had another opportunity.

Written by Amina Ali, 2013 Fellow

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