Stella Prossy Uwantege is twenty three years old. She is an IT technician who acquired an advanced diploma at the Tumba College of Technology in 2010. She joined DOT Rwanda in April 2011 as an intern to deliver DOT's signature program, ReachUp!, which trains and coaches community beneficiaries in essential ICT and business skills.
In this photo, Stella Uwantege Prossy, DOT Rwanda Intern.
"When people ask me about myself, I tell them that I love working hard to achieve my goals". - Stella
Following a rich and intensive training of trainers session, Stella and her fellow Interns were ready to work with their communities. It's now been four weeks that Stella has been delivering the ReachUp! program. She is working at the Kicukiro Business Development Centre with Fredrick Kamusiime. Together they have trained their first group of 40 participants. Their participants are mainly unemployed young men and women with low education levels who have not been exposed to the use of computers before.
Stella says, "It has been more that I expected because I have seen how our participants joined us with little or no computer skills; today they are confident users of internet, and basic applications of Microsoft Word and Excel. I am very proud of this impact."
Stella's participants have also gained business skills. She shares the story of Mwavita, a 32 year old mother of three who has been participating in the ReachUp! training. Just before she joined the program, Mwavita had lost her job after the institution she worked for downsized. She was devastated and wasn't sure how to move on. As she attended the ReachUp! program, Mwavita gained self esteem and marketing skills. She learned how to map out opportunities for a business she had in mind, retailing in African attire, and decided to start her business at the Kicukiro Market. Today Mwavita sells African attire commonly known as kitenge, a product that is widely consumed by women. She has made herself some business cards which she adds to the packages of her customers so that they can know how to reach her for more goods.
Another participant, Pierre Celestin, aged 40, already had a poultry and rabbit-rearing project when he joined the ReachUp! program. He has been in the business for three years now. His business was working out okay, but he had not acquired relevant business skills. Through the ReachUp! training, Pierre realized he could grow his business by investing into other markets. That's when he launched a similar project in Rwamagana, which is in the Eastern Province.
Stella is very happy to be helping members of her community find new opportunities, and notes that she has also personally benefited from the experience of delivering ReachUp!. "I have always wanted to contribute to my community," Stella says. "I want to see every person able to earn their living. I believe in helping people gain self esteem and realize their own abilities is key. I thank DOT for the opportunity to serve a such great purpose."
"As DOT interns, we are becoming strong men and women. I now sit in a meeting with local leaders and other partners on behalf of my organization. The more I facilitate, I acquire skills to speak publicly and to deal with different people. My IT skills are improving as I am exposed to different software applications I hadn't had the opportunity to explore."
When ReachUp! training concludes, DOT Interns like Stella coach their program participants in different areas related to their strengths, and encourage them to use the skills they have gained to start a business or locate a job.
Photos of Stella Prossy Uwantege at her centre delivering an ICT Modules
Stella recently posted a story on the DOT 2011 Writing Festival, where she shares more of her experience as an Intern: All About the ReachUp! Program, By Stella Prossy Uwantege.