“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass.. it’s about learning to dance in the rain” ~ Vivian Greene
"Dear Keane, Out of 1,400+ applications across 16 countries we choose you! It's our honor and privilege extend you an invitation to join the 2017 IDEX Fellowship.”
It was on Monday, 15th March 2017 at 08:05 that I received an e-mail with this first sentence. I am quite sure many other young intrapreneurs would like to receive the same E-mail. An E-mail can be the beginning of a whole story and the beginning of a professional sunshine after the storm. In Zimbabwe, the storm starts usually after the first graduation from university. Where to go and what to do? The storm is unemployment for the majority of young Africans. That E-mail was an ideal proposition to get me a bit of international exposure in India. I was required to participate in the mandatory pre-orientation training as a pre-conditional step before an “eventual” deployment as an IDEX fellow. The training was organized by the IDEX team and hosted at the Shilton Royale Hotel; and a key part of the event to was engage in team bonding and networking with fellows.
Where there is an intrapreneurial will, nothing can stop you…
Despite the difficulties and challenges to join the team in Bangalore (lack of funds to support all the aspects of the fellowship), in fact, a part of me was proposing to sell my unwanted electronic gadgets to cover the cost of investment for the fellowship. Receiving that e-mail at three months from the beginning of the fellowship was a real challenge. But in two weeks, I was lucky to receive support from family and work colleagues in Zimbabwe covering part of the investment, my Round trip Ticket and others expenses. Everything was ready and I finally could join the team in Bangalore.
We all know how difficult it is to get an opportunity to be part of a truly global fellowship and get a chance to learn with people from different and diverse countries. I just don’t want to say, it is almost impossible! The 2017 July IDEX cycle provided me an opportunity to openly further develop myself in the social enterprise space and discuss my thoughts with some of our cohort members and resident mentors. I learned that they really appreciate having frequent exchanges with fellows. This might look like nothing but just imagine a very experienced mentor listening to you and taking notes in her own note book.
The pre-orientation of the IDEX Fellows is just the beginning of the journey..
Bhavna, Sandhya and Sarah organized a pre-deployment orientation to share useful tips on India, housing and work related tips. The event was well organized and I had the opportunity to share key points as well as learn from the very knowledgeable in-house mentors. From that orientation, I was afforded the opportunity to visit Tannery Road as part of the Hackathon challenge co-organized by SELCO on the role of archiving and documentation of the way urban poor live in their communities in and around Bangalore and as an intrapreneur, our proposed documentation style ought to have this niche of innovation and relevance. Presentations were given immediately after the trip to share my story and experiences in Tannery Road (Bangalore).
I recall very well, the first time I got news from IDEX that I would be deployed in India, first thing that came to my mind was will I make it and be able to finish my term as a fellow but little did I know that I would have the best time of my life! It is always scary to move to a country where society and culture are unknown to you.
I was so fortunate to have people who were so supportive and encouraging when I first arrived and I’ve turned to experience how friendly Indian people are. Genuinely, for me getting the opportunity to work with an organisation that has such a diverse group of people has helped me to develop new skills and also personnel life experience outside work.
Overall, my entire experience living and working in India as a fellow has been so remarkable and satisfying. All the credits should go to IDEX and not forgetting the team making impacts on civics in the city, Citizen Matters, in making sure that my aspiration of becoming a true social enterprise leader is achieved.