In May 2011, I was sitting in a life skills class and in front of me was my teacher telling us his journey as a student and a teacher in Nairobits. Mark Kamau, born in Mathare slums of Nairobi,Kenya, was telling us on how he found his way in life with the support of Nairobits. Today it is my chance to tell you and the world, how Dreamfish gave me hope by what they did to me during my internship period.
Although I was to be happy that I had finally made it to the media lab class in Mukubits (Mukubits is a new centre for Nairobits school of multimedia design situated in one of the slums of Nairobi called Mukuru Kwa Ruben), I was always sad and in pain when I thought of my very sick mother at home.
My mother had been sick for almost two years and the money that my family had saved to take me to college was spent everyday in taking care of her and the family. It seemed to me at that time, that I had lost everything.
In August 2011, after going through a very challenging period of interview, I was one of seven lucky graduates of Nairobits to be taken as an intern in Dreamfish. I was holding a Diploma in web and graphics design .
Being new to the working environment, having my sick mother at home and having a goal to take myself to college, I had very high expectations out of my internship. I thought that I would get ‘big money” and I would be able to take care of all my needs.
In my first month of internship in Dreamfish, I found out that interns would not make “big money”, but would only compensated for their expenses, in addition to an opportunity for work experience. This was not good news to me nor to my fellow interns. This saw some of them dropping out of the internship. The temptation of dropping out was very high to all of us but I thank my father and our teacher for being very supportive to me and other two interns (Masuman, and Grace) in that period of despair.
We (Grace, Masuman, and me) thought it would be better if we seek guidance from our parents and teachers before making any decision. I am very glad that we took this step. We were challenged to think of the future and not the present. This gave me energy and hope when I found out that my parents were very understanding and concerned about my own success.
The second month of my internship I decided to learn and understand what Dreamfish was and the vision and mission they had. Hope started building in me once I started to understand the mission and vision of Dreamfish. This lead to my adjustment of the expectations I had and concentrated on building myself in Dreamfish.
A month later I started learning a lot of things. As part of the internship program, Dreamfish provided mentorship and training by professionals, like Grant Bowman who was a resident technologist with expertise in Open Source, Bernard Adongo the C.T.O of a mobile application called Nikohapa, Jamilla Abbas the CEO and co-founder of mFarm and Polly Bodgener a teacher of adult learning and English, I learned a lot of coding from Bernard, Grant and Jamilla.
Although I enjoyed each and every mentorship lesson that I had, I concentrated most on what Tiffany was doing. Tiffany to me was a unique leader. The way she presented herself as a leader was very unique. I started emulating what she was doing and I started practicing what I was learning from her on my team mates and my daily life.
Like any competent leader, Tiffany realized the impact she was having on me. One day I was shocked when she called me and we had one-on-one meeting. She struck me with the feedback she gave me and asked me if I was willing to switch from being a developer to being a community leader and a facilitator. This was my happiest day in Dreamfish.
Since my childhood, I have always wanted to be involved in community work. I have passion in seeing people in the community share success and develop each other. Being a Community leader and a facilitator in Dreamfish, would beliving my dream life. The position made me to work very closely with Tiffany and I started gaining useful leadership skills from her.
My position involved welcoming knew members in the community, supporting members of the community, moderating them and facilitating discussions and meetings in the community.
Although I had no experience in doing these activities, Tiffany worked closely with me to see that I was a success in the leadership field. She always gave me necessary feedback, praised me and she was never hesitant to correcting me where I went wrong.
Some of the leadership skills that I learned from her were: how to be an effective communicator, planning and management skills, how to use the power of reflection to solve problems in the community, how to be always part of the solution but not the problem, how to praise my team mates in public and help them to learn instead of scolding, and facilitation skills among others.
Apart from professional skills that I gained in Dreamfish, I also built a good network of professionals around me, I have gained a lot of expensive material things like house hold goods and an apartment and a brand new netbook, that Dreamfish made it possible for me to afford at the end of my internship.
I look forward to the time when I will have reached my goals and have a successful path in life.
“Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.”
Dreamfish Community Support
- 5 Steps to Successful Internship Hunting (uloop.com)
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- Internships: free labor or amazing opportunities? (bethberens.wordpress.com)
- 10 Ways to Maximize your Internship Experience (hbculifestyle.com)
- How 2012 investment banking internships will differ to those in 2011 (news.efinancialcareers.com)
- Please note: Internships should pay a stipend (sfprn.com)
- Design and Editorial Internships Available In NYC (Fashion, Beauty, Interiors, Food) (fashionista.com)
- It’s Not ALL About Social Media (fortheloveofpr.com)