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#Goals: Rukwengye mentoring young people

Benjamin Rukwengye

Lifting them: Are you a young university student looking for career guidance and mentorship? Are you undecided on what you want to do after completing university? Or, are you a graduate stuck and hopeless because there are no available job opportunities?

“Our mission as an organisation is to create space where young people can test ideas, find guidance, apply knowledge as well as interact with peers whom they can hold accountable to their actions,” Benjamin Rukwengye says.
Rukwengye is the proprietor of Boundless Minds, a non-profit organisation providing a mentorship platform for young people to grow into excellent professionals, entreprenuers and social justice champions.
Boundless Minds was started in 2017 and today, Rukwengye works with a team of volunteers. According to the 32-year-old, the education-mentorship social enterprise uses community service volunteerism and entrepreneurship as pathways to employment and entrepreneurship for youth.
“We help students by giving them a head-start on work experience, social entrepreneurship and leadership development,” he says, adding, “In the long run, this helps tackle issues such as unemployment, which many students face after graduation.”

The unemployment statistics
The 2016 final results of the national housing and population census indicate that the age category of 20 to 24 years has 65 per cent of its members unemployed. This, therefore, means that 11.8 million youths, most of whom come straight from university and other tertiary institutions have a problem of getting employment. For those above 25 years, the situation is worse, with about 90 per cent of them unemployed.
For such reasons, Rukwengye says he addresses the loopholes within the country’s education system using a learning model intended to provoke critical thinking and problem-solving attributes.
Also, part of the idea is to help students start thinking about the career professions they want to do earlier and one of the ways the organisation does this is by going to different schools to talk to students and offering them training opportunities.
“There are students who graduate from university and take about two years figuring out what career path they want to take. It should not be the case. I believe the planning process should start early and this is one of the key messages we deliver to students,” he says.
Regarding challenges, Rukwengye says the biggest he faces is people who do not trust that his objectives of transformation and mentorship actually work, so he always has to show some kind of proof.

The love for transforming young lives
Rukwengye’s love for transforming young lives is partly because of his continuous volunteer work with 40 Days over 40 Smiles Foundation, a charity organisation, committed towards helping vulnerable children and communities access entrepreneurial training and all-round education support.
Also, he got more exposure to many young people as the head of recruitment at Teach for Uganda, an entity that focuses on developing leaders to expand educational opportunities.
“My position required me to go to universities, recruit brilliant students, train them and help them get placements as teachers of English and mathematics,”
Rukwengye joined Teach for Uganda in 2017 and left after only five months to concentrate on his organisation.

Who is Rukwengye?
He is the only child of his parents, raised by his grandmother. He attended Kireka SDA Primary School, Katikamu SDA Secondary School and Makerere University for a Bachelors of Mass Communication and a Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy.

Quick takes

First job:
Public affairs assistant at Uganda Media Centre

Worst habit:
There are times I get so lazy that I just want to stay home tucked inside my bed.

What inspires you:
The mentality that if you want to change something, you can actually do.

Favourite book:
The God Father by Mario Puzo

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