By: IRENE NJOROGE-KRISTIAN
“Eight years ago, I got a Chinese government scholarship to study aeronautical engineering and flight design in Beijing. While there, I found that advocacy and empowerment for the youth was my true passion.
Now, I am trying to use my technical knowledge to empower youth in technical fields. My ultimate dream is to convert Kenya into a manufacturing hub led by young people.
“I value my sleep, but I had to be up by 6 am this morning for an early morning meeting. For two years now, I have been managing the Africa Tech Challenge.
This is a project targeting African students in technical fields.
We aim to upgrade their skills from basic to high professional ones through training so that they can all stop looking at employment and start thinking of manufacturing. This involves training and supply of manufacturing equipment that the students do not have in the institutions.
“As the manager, my job entails creating awareness for the project, arranging for training and overseeing the daily running of the project.
HOW I SPEND MOST OF MY DAY
I spend most of my days in meetings with my engineering teams, my social media team and my public relations team. In between my schedule, I check up on friends. You do not need a hundred friends but to be able to say that you are truly successful, you need at least five friends in your corner.
“We are in the middle of my favourite part of the project. Students are competing to come up with a mobile phone technical application that can link all technical students in Kenya, the local industry and potential investors.
The best part of my day was seeing a student come up with an original concept. The students all get to sharpen their skills and the winner gets rewarded.
I think this moment is the best for me because I get to see myself in them. I got empowered in a big way, now it’s my turn to pay it forward.
“My workday ended at 6 pm and I spent most of the evening doing Zumba with a friend. Most of my days are pretty mentally engaging.
During Zumba I get to switch my phone off and re-energise. My family is very close-knit, if I wasn’t doing Zumba, I would have spent the evening catching up with my dad. He is a great sounding board. On the weekends, I catch up with my mum and my siblings.
I am an emotional perfectionist and this means that on days that I do not feel like I achieved, I beat myself up. Each evening, I make a conscious effort to remember that tomorrow is another day to try again.”