Empowering Breaks: How ALA Students Spent Their Holidays

August 31st, 2018

Lobna Jbeniani (Tunisia)

I attended the Global Leaders Program at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, won the pitch competition and was awarded the presidential scholarship to attend the college. I also interned at Errabta Hospital Biological Lab (Neurology division) in Tunis, and worked on a research topic (Transamination in Liver Cells) under the guidance of Dr. Omar Souheil. I will have finished a research paper by the end of August.

I also worked on my Pioneer Summer Research Class and will have finished a philosophy research paper on the topic of Morality and Ethics.

I tutored SAT at Highway International, a start-up launched by ALA alumni. I painted, worked on my MAU research paper, spent time with family and friends and learned a new piano piece: Liebestraum by Liszt.

Rolinhlanhla Kudzaishe Zinyemba (Zimbabwe)

I recently finished my six-week internship at Reekworth Group of Schools in Harare, founded by Belinda Munemo (ALA Class of 2008). The internship was heavily flexible to allow me to jump from department to department to get a feel of the whole organisation. I started out with the marketing department, whereby I structured and ran the group's social media increasing the following by 20% in that time. This also involved making follow ups and enrolling students for the next academic year. Concurrently, I also led the development of a curriculum that was to be used at their high school as a flagship program called Connect The Dots. It is a civic entrepreneurship curriculum that seeks to impart skills to  civic leaders within the next 25 years.

I also attended their executive meetings which allowed me to see the importance of communication within an organisation first hand. My last two weeks were spent in the accounting department, helping to come up with a budget for the next term.

Aside this, I managed to be part of the facilitators at the Build-in-a-Box camp,which was a  huge success. To round up my break, I will be speaking at an event for startups on the nuances of growth next Wednesday called The Starting Up Dogma.

Ntandoyakhe Tshuma (Zimbabwe)

Over the break l interned at Mpilo Hospital. The internship focused on allowing students to experience an adult working environment and teaching attributes on how to handle patients with chronic medical conditions. Included in the course was an overview of equipment management  especially the equipment used to help patients with chronic medical diseases. In addition l also participated in a business management program hosted by the ministry of industry, commerce and enterprise development of Zimbabwe.

The program included tours detailing how the industry functions with a focus on fabric and clothing productions as a branch of the ministry. It also included a course covering the development of business startups and enterprises in Zimbabwe. I was accepted into the Notre Dame Summer Scholars program but could not attend. I completed a  lesson on CSS and Javascript programming languages.  Lastly, I joined my friends for community service at Thembiso Children's home.

Exode Malengani (Democratic Republic of Congo)

Over the break I facilitated a BUILD-in-a-box camp at my previous high school in Kinshasa, DRC with fellow ALA students Marie Paule Wauters and Gradi Bamfonga, and alum Deborah Alongi.

In August, I was invited to give a talk at a youth camp organised by CALI (Congolese American Language Institute), at which I was also a team leader. My topic, on education, was titled "An educated mind in a current world". CALI has a special program called Access, which provides scholarship to selected teenagers to learn English over two years. I am an alumni of this program, having participated from 2014 to 2016.

Ayotomiwa Akinyele (Nigeria)

This summer I was at the LaunchX Summer program at MIT. It is an entrepreneurship program where students learn to start real companies, and learn more about entrepreneurship with other like-minded high achieving peers. My team and I started Smart Medicine Hub. This is a company that seeks to help forgetful millennials remember to take their medicine.

We designed a smart pill case that easily snaps on to the back of your phone. This product synchronises with an app on your phone to send you reminders to take your pills, show you your pill inventory and knows whether you actually took the pills or not. We are in the product development stage and are excited about how many young people out there will benefit from our company.

At LaunchX I have made many connections with influencers all around the globe and have expanded my thinking about the possibilities and opportunities that exist to make an impact in the world through entrepreneurship.

Dorcas Mendin (Liberia)

My summer has been centered around three major events: BUILD -in-a-Box, volunteerism and my OID.

Chernor Diallo and I ran aBUILD -in-a-Box camp in early August. It was very enlightening. One major thing that I learnt is to be an observant facilitator – to be keen to the growth areas of the participants individually, and helping them in their growth process so that they can value the time spent at your program.

I have also been volunteering at Messengers Of Peace Liberia, a non-profit organisation that aims at sustaining peace in Liberia. I coordinated a month-long camp, as well as teaching the adolescent class of the camp. Working with them has helped to improve my level of patience as well as adaptation. I’ve also really enjoyed this experience because I get to give back to the organisation that helped in building my capacity. Prior to leaving for the academy, I was a volunteer at Messengers of Peace; so it gives me so much joy to be back with them.

Currently, I am implementing my Original Idea for Development. I identified the need for young girls in my community to build self-confidence, be aware of the importance of education, as well as gain a knowledge on heath and sex education so that they can be independent young ladies in the future. I am implementing this need through a three-day come-and-go camp at my house.

Temilolu Awofesu (Nigeria)

The highlight of my summer, aside from indulging in my mother’s pounded yam and ogbono soup, was to sell my AfricaDay Painting for $390. Another amazing feat for me was the completion of my latest art piece, titled The faces you don’t see and Afro-Futurism. These works were originally for my application to Parsons School of Design in New York, but after reconciliation I decided to sell them when completed.

I mostly worked on college applications, practiced digital media as a photographer for two events, did a spoken word poetry recital at ScaleUp Africa’s first event, completed my artwork for the Parsons School of Design’s “Parsons Challenge” and spent quality time exploring Lagos again and reuniting with family.

The Short Takes

Katai Mutale (Zambia)

My holidays went well, even though I did not go for any summer programs, neither did I do BUILD-in-a-Box. However, I did take some time to build myself by doing the things I love (writing,  art, spending time with the family). I also took time to finish my holiday assignments and also learn how to drive – a challenging, but fun, learning experience. At first, I had felt bad that almost everyone was doing some camp or program in the US – but I realised that this holiday helped me grow as a person and what I learnt will sustain me in Year 2!

Gadri Pericles (Ghana)

I attended the Island School Term in Cape Eleuthera, the Bahamas from June 27 to July 27, worked on my college application essays, researched how to make Biodiesel for scientific research next term, visited my previous high school to collect my transcripts and final exams results, visited my family in Sunyani, Brong Ahafo Region and worked with my older brother on his clothing business.

Christopher Akuleme (Ghana)

I attended the Yale Young Global Scholars program 2018 for the Sustainable Development and Enterprenuership Session, spoke at two Entrepreneurship workshops, worked on my college applications and spent time with family and friends. I also visited new places in the US, like Boston and Washington.

Gerry Migwi (Kenya)

This summer, I had a month-and-a-half long internship with mSurvey, a tech company here in Kenya. I am also participating in a Computer Science research program with a professor from Hamilton College, through Pioneer Academics. Apart from that I am also trying to work on my college applications before school resumes.

Koffi-Emmanuel Sadzi (Togo)

I began my holidays with the planning of Build-in-a Box during the second week of my holidays. I attended Yale Young Global Scholars, Frontiers of Sciences and Technology program for two weeks, at Yale University. I also attended Google Digital Skills, which was a training on the use of nowaday's numerical tools to begin and boost your entreprise. Finally, I was working on UG worksheets,as well as SAT Practice, in preparation for college application.

Manar Fathalla (Egypt)

Over the break I did BUILD in a box camp. And I also was accepted to “we are building for tomorrow “ camp by Y-peer organization that was managed by the UN and the Swiss embassy. I went to many symposiums done by the secularism movement in Egypt about philosophy, secularism and development. I also was accepted to attend a camp that discuss the sustainable development goals of the UN and how youth can contribute to achieve these goals.

Kopo Keaikitse (Botswana)

This holiday I worked with Moitse and Sandra in partnership with EducationUSA to make Build in a Box Botswana take place. I also attended EducationUSA classes on college applications. Apart from SAT studying and MAU study guide prep, I was mostly working on college application preparation. Thank you. 

Fikemi Aiyepeku (Nigeria)

Over the summer break, I held a BIAB camp in Ibadan with my team members. I also finished my Pioneer Reads Program. For the most part though, I spent the summer catching up with old friends and refreshing my mind, spirit and soul so that I come back to ALA with the same level of determination and enthusiasm that I did this time last

Pape Abdou Diagne (Senegal)

During the summer I spent most of the time working on college stuff (Personal Statement, College essay, SAT prep), and am currrently working on a community service project about Street Children in Senegal. I facilitated two Build in a Box camps in Dakar, Senegal and attended and led conferences about Entrepreneurial Leadership in the STEM world, Education in Dakar. I also took online classes – and time out to reconnect with friends and family.

Lineo Monica Khoete (Lesotho)

This summer I facilitated a BUILD-in-A-Box camp, and started an initiative with my best friend. Our mission is to help children at the St. Bernadette’s School for the Blind get the medical attention that they need to enable them to go to school and further their studies. We have submitted proposals to large businesses in Lesotho asking for aid and we are awaiting their responses.



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