A loan of $500 helped to purchase a laptop for her studies.

Irene's story

Irene is a 19-year-old full-time student at African Leadership Academy (ALA), a two-year pre-university program in Johannesburg, South Africa, with a mission to identify, develop, and connect Africa’s future leaders.

Irene was selected as one of 95 ALA students out of a pool of over 3,000 applicants from across the continent for her passion for public service, her commitment to Africa, and her demonstrated leadership potential to lead change in Africa and beyond.

Irene is applying for a loan of $500, which will enable her to purchase a laptop to conduct assignments and research, to run her community service project and/or student-run business which forms part of the ALA curriculum, and to participate fully in the world-class program offered by ALA.

Irene comes from Tukuyu, Tanzania and is one of a family of five.

A tenacious young woman with a keen entrepreneurial spirit, Irene started a tutoring company in a spare room at her home in order to help her family with finances. Trusted by her community, Irene managed to get 15 pupils as clients. Over and above easing the burden her family felt financially, Irene made a positive impact by helping the students to achieve significantly higher grades. By taking on the challenge of establishing a tutoring center, she was able to ease the burden her family faced in terms of a lack of finances.

Irene’s ability to lead other was recognized at her school in Tanzania, where she served as a school discipline prefect for two years. In this role, Irene had to deal with a group of “troublemakers.” By staying cool under pressure and establishing basic relationships with the group, she managed the get them to change their behavior, demonstrating courage, compassion, and a commitment to service.

Irene also served as the UN secretary for her school. A true all-rounder, Irene also excelled academically and was recognized as the second best student in her region among over 40,000 pupils in her grade for her academic achievement.

She writes that she always listens to people to hear their ideas and suggestions “in order to shift to the next level.”

Irene has demonstrated a strong commitment to excellence and sees herself becoming one the prominent women in Africa like Joyce Banda, the President of Malawi, or Asha-Rose Migiro, the Deputy Secretary of the UN. Irene wants to be an activist so that she can empower women and advocate for equal opportunities for women. She believes that she can contribute to the development of Africa by providing equal opportunities for women throughout the continent. She wants to be one of those making a difference.

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