By Elias Hakizimana
Most students need reliable testimonies of their alumni friends to cope with university life, adopt innovative and useful approaches to success in class, as well as to adapt to the situation after graduation – the labour market.
Female students from Akilah Institute in Kigali say they feel motivated when they see their elders who are performing well at work coming to interact with them with inspirational testimony consisting of giving them insights in academics and the world of work that they will join after school.
Speaking to The Inspirer last week during Akilah Institute’s friendly alumni students interactions with their continuing student colleagues in Kigali, Nida Gizele Iraguha who graduated from Akilah Institute in the option of Hospitality in 2015, said that there is nothing good than getting advice and testimonies of your colleagues who successfully got work and excellently performed after graduation.
Currently employed by Marriot Hotel, Iraguha said life was not bad at school as she got opportunity to be trained by qualified and various teachers for every lecture, which enabled her to be hired by the local five-star-hotel after spending three years in training at university.
Iraguha said she gets proud of where she acquired skills from, when she sees colleagues giving testimony of how they are enjoying the work after working hard to get skills from the same university.
“I am also proud of skills I learnt from Akilah as it equips students with all possible abilities and it brings successful people in the same career to help students learn from them. In this case, students can meet about five teachers per day with tangible testimonies to motivate them and showing them how they can be successful. This is an added value within the three years than having only one teacher,” said Iraguha.
She said that discipline is the best package that continues to lead an employee at the workplace. She gives an example of her front office-manager whom she takes as her role model in hardworking and discipline.
Esther Mbabazi, a pilot with RwandAir was attending the evening dialogue with Akillah students and senior professionals in hospitality industry including officials from Mariot Hotel in Kigali.
She said that it is a great input to share experience with young female students to help them have self confidence in what they do and what they intend to do in the future after school.
“The reason I was invited here is to be able to inspire as in sense of a role model to the ladies of Akilah who are on the way to acquire wide skills in various fields, and I think I can relate with them and I am sure they can relate with me,” said Mbabazi.
Mbabazi herself was inspired by her mother who is a scientist.
“My mum is also engaged in sciences, she was an electrical engineer, so, first inspiration which goes to sciences was from her,” she said noting that there is no science for men or women, anyone can do anything.”
Mbabazi said that people have better to understand that the matter of success is not gender based.
“I would have brother doing arts, I would have a sister doing science, so, it is not a matter of gender, rather, it is a matter of what you like and what you do best,” she said.
Becoming a pilot
Mbabazi owes special gratitude to everyone who contributed to her success and made her dream of becoming a pilot fulfilled.
“Of course I felt so happy, it was a dream coming true, I was definitely happy and also at the end of it you learn to be grateful, everyone comes before you,” she expressed.
“For me it was more than happiness, more gratitude, for everyone who was involved in my career progression in my training, and the country, the government of Rwandair, my family, so, anyone at any point of my life had something to do for me because I was a young girl obviously I would not be able to push myself forward,” she said.
Encouraging young generation female students
Mbabazi observed that an African woman should not feel inferior because of the stereotype that being an African woman is associated to inability. She rather encouraged young female students to work hard, have confidence, and make use of every opportunity that comes their way, revealing to them that a secret of success is confidence.
Every time I am in an interview [with the media] people say “how was it coming through your career progression as an African women, I tell them this is not a disability, anything is opportunity for me to represent the people from where I come from, because a lot of times people give excuses. I am a black woman and I am proud of it; I am able – Mbabazi.
Ashley Hollister, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist at Akillah Institute said that the celebration of the alumni is in line with bringing women together for empowerment.
“Alumni are an example of this empowerment, so, we want to celebrate that accomplishment, that is why we are hosting this event,” Ashley said.
“We are motivated to see women in leadership and working in various domains, applying leadership rules in families and in communities; that inspires us,” she said.
“We do it as part of the package, so, we give them the right skills such as entrepreneurship, such as hospitality to boost the sector in Rwanda, and these skills will help them to control their lives and grow into the workforce,” Ashley added.
She clarified that the university gives students marketing skills to bring them into the job market, adding that it is good to see them enjoying the fruits of the skills they attained.
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