Written by Hannah Bain. Contributions by Douglas.
After losing his job due to COVID-19, Douglas was making ends meet by picking up shifts at a local cyber cafe, telling the owner he would work for free as long as lunch was provided.
“When I am around technology, I tend to be very sharp,” Douglas said. “I liked working in the cybercafe because I got to learn new things and meet different people. I tried to improve my leadership skills and handle things maturely. It was really a learning experience.”
Though Douglas was grateful for the work during the pandemic, he was searching for something more, something that offered more stability and could be a stepping stone to additional opportunities.
Making the most of every opportunity
After hearing about CFK from a relative, he decided to enroll in our Entrepreneurship and Economic Development program to learn work-ready skills. During one of the sessions, he discovered his affinity for working with people and realized that he could apply his skills to a job in customer service.
After Douglas completed the training, CFK connected him with Generation Kenya for more tailored opportunities in digital customer care. While he enjoys the work and is grateful for the financial stability it will provide, he views customer service as a temporary job. His goal is to save money and study economics and statistics, which are the interests “in his blood.”
“When the opportunity comes, you try to make as much out of the opportunity as you can,” Douglas said. “The best part of life comes when you’re already on the route.”
The oldest of three, Douglas feels a personal responsibility to set a good example for his brother and sister. He is also dedicated to supporting his peers, showing them that there is life outside of Kibera and that hard work and ambition can pay off.
“My dream is to see that every youth gets an opportunity to do something with their life, that they can turn their motivation into something and live out their dream,” Douglas said. “If we try to mentor as many youths as possible, we will avoid many drug-related and conflict-related challenges. You can see the drug rates and crime rates going down, but we could always do a little bit better and reach out to more.”
Role Model. Self-Starter. Poet.
While working, saving money, and striving to set a good example for his siblings and peers, Douglas also finds time to write poetry about what it’s like to live in an informal settlement.
“I mostly write about what I go through,” he said. “I write what I feel. It can be anger or joy. I just write according to my mood.”
Using every experience as a learning opportunity, Douglas aspires to study economics and statistics once he has saved enough money, but his underlying motivation is to give back to his community and become a mentor for other youth struggling with unemployment.
“I want to help my family and then the community at large,” he said. “I would like to hold someone’s hand the way my hand has been held. I appreciate [CFK’s] sacrifice for the youth and for creating more opportunities. Every day, people have problems, so having to listen to someone else while you have to deal with your own stuff is difficult, but we really appreciate it.”